Life Takes Twists

I’ve often talked about the turns that life takes – a misdirection, a surprise chance, a leap of faith, a crisis of the heart. Life is simply complicated and there really is no other true explanation for the chaos that life sometimes seems to be but that. Sometimes the twists are wonderful and sometimes they are heartbreaking. Either way they simply are and it is through them that we discover strengths within ourselves, and hidden depths within us that we never knew existed.

My family has always been the type to pull together in times of trouble or need. I remember when I was sixteen, learning that one of my oldest and best friends had died, and thinking that all I really wanted was my mom and dad. And they were there for me. When I was seventeen and my dad knocked on my door before dawn to tell me that my maternal grandmother had just died, that he was going to meet my mom and her siblings at the hospital and that I needed to stay with my younger sister. I remember thinking, where else would I be?

And a couple years later when my paternal grandfather was in the hospital suffering from the late stages of pancreatic cancer, I remember going to the hospital daily and spending hours reading to him and talking to him and simply spending time with him. Through the course of the day, family was in and out of his room, and eventually we were given a private waiting room because so many of us simply refused to leave.

There have been other losses – neighbors and friends of my parents, close family and extended, my own friends and schoolmates. The love and support of my family has been a constant reassurance through it all. There’s never been any doubt that there will always be someone there if I need them, nor that I’ll be there should someone need me.

Now here we are again as a family, looking at the coming loss of my paternal grandmother. This time around we’ve had more advanced warning, her struggle with cancer has been ongoing for the last several years and for the last several months has been on a downhill slide, but has, seemingly, advanced and worsened very quickly over the last week or so. We’ve visited, we’ve feted life, and we’ve remembered the good times and the bad. Now we simply have to wait. And the waiting is all by itself a painful experience. Because the truth of the matter is, no matter how well we’re prepared for the ending that we all know is coming, it’s still going to rip our hearts out. Knowing what’s coming doesn’t make the hurt or the fear any less.

Knowing, preparing… It doesn’t change that truth that soon we will have to say goodbye to someone who we’ve all loved our entire lives. And nothing changes how much that hurts.


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