Call it Writer’s Block. More accurately, though, I believe that I have just felt intimidated by the new year and all its happenings. How do I put everything that has transpired into coherent words that anyone would want to read?
You just do.
Things I need to write about:
- My great-aunt’s passing
- My Grandpa’s diagnosis
- My new job
- My relationship with Dustin
- All the odd feelings that have resulted from the above
I thought I’d take the easy route and go about writing this chronologically, but I do realize that I might go off on tangents and make a mess of things. We’ll see… here goes…
I was very much looking forward to the new year, mainly because I left that horrific job that was sucking so much out of me – my positivity, my energy, my focus. It was draining and exhausting and not healthy at all. I was all set to start my new job with old friends on January 5th.
Less than three hours into the new year, however, while I was soundly sleeping, my great-aunt passed after a long battle with kidney disease and overall declining health. She was a widow and had lived at my grandparents’ house my entire life. Their house was three doors down from my parents’ and so, I grew up seeing her (and my grandparents) on an almost daily basis. She was integral part of my childhood, a fifth grandparent whom I grew closer to the older we both became. She was hilarious, always dishing about this and that with brutal honesty. I miss her. We (my family members) all miss her. That house is not the same without her.
I missed my first day at the new job to attend her funeral. Dad picked me up from my place bright and early. I bought breakfast for us and we headed to the funeral home on what was actually a clear, blue-skyed, sunny, albeit cold day. It was a lovely day. After the service, it seemed as though a game of musical chairs was played in regard to carpooling arrangements. Not everyone left in the same vehicle they had arrived in, which was fine – we were all family, after all. Each of us headed to the same destination, the cemetery where my great-aunt would be laid to rest.
I stuck to my Dad, though. He’s my rock and he was who I wanted by my side while I got through the day. I also rode with him from the cemetery back to my grandparents’ house where as a family, we all ate and ate and ate and caught up with one another. Because of my great-aunt’s illness, we did not have holiday gatherings this season. And so, this was the first time we had all been gathered together in quite a while. It was a great reminder of how fortunate I am to be a part of this crazy, whacky family. In times of celebration and in times of mourning, we have each other and certainly enjoy being together.
Dad drove me back home late in the afternoon, almost early evening. I immediately started to prepare for my first day. Scrubs? Check. Lunch? Check? Stethoscope, watch, and notepad? Check, check, check. As my great-aunt’s life had ended, there I was readying myself to make improvements to my own. Keep living, Daisy, and do what you can to live well.
I knew from the day that I had my working interview that I would love working at this new clinic, and indeed, my first week started off well. I already knew a fair amount of employees there and quickly grew to admire those that I didn’t. I found out that I would be working on the Oncology team, where I’d be treating cancer patients, and I was excited!
On my third day there (January 8th), while I was on my lunch break, I got a call from my Mom. Odd. Calling to check on how things were going, maybe? I wish that was all it had been. She informed me that my Grandpa was in the hospital due to just not feeling well. A series of diagnostic tests later… several masses on several internal organs had been found. Mom was sorry to have interrupted my day with such horrible news, but she wanted me to go to the hospital ASAP after work.
It’s a cruel, and ironic, thing. I had just started to read and learn more about Oncology and cancer because of my new job. I knew what those masses meant, even if my Mom didn’t exactly spell everything out for me. Sure enough, though, once I got to the hospital, one of my aunts did lay it out. Stage IV cancer, obviously. I already knew. What I didn’t know, because the focus in my career is obviously on animals, was what his prognosis might be. Grandpa had declined all treatment and elected hospice care. Hospice: end of life care. For a few months.
I was devastated and tried my best to hide it as I sat in that hospital room, my Grandpa comfortable as could be in his bed, my mom, aunt, brother, neighbor, nephew, and cousin all surrounding him. I chose to sit in the shadows, the best place to conceal my grief. Grandpa was his usual self, cracking jokes about the nurses and doctors and the procedures that he was having done. Making poop jokes because… why not? His ridiculous humor lightened my mood a little bit.
Holy shit, what a fucking brave man! Will I ever get to that point? Will I ever be content with the life I have lived and be ready to take my final bow? Will I be able to face death with a smile on my face and peace in my heart?
As comforting as it is to know that his diagnosis didn’t devastate him, his reaction to it definitely reminded me of why I love him so much and just how desperately I am going to miss his personality when he is gone. I am already mourning him. Never in front of him, of course, but at times like this when I become pensive. Actually, my walks with Canelo Dog provide me with perfect moments of solitude and as a result, I become very contemplative throughout them. At the end of our walks, I get back to my apartment with tears rolling incessantly down my cheeks because, without hesitation, my mind allows itself to be saturated with thoughts of my Grandpa and I mourn. I mourn and mourn and mourn.
So we have his diagnosis, along with his (poor) prognosis. We have time to spend with him. Time to enjoy his company and absorb as much wisdom from him as we can. I am reminded that as heartbroken as I am, this is something that most individuals in our family are experiencing with me. My Mom, aunts, and uncle are losing their beloved father. My brother, cousins, and I are losing our grandfather. And my sweet, dear, wonderfully adoring Grandmother is losing her husband, soon after having lost her sister. Oh, life.
I will write about my relationship with Dustin later. Including that topic in this post no longer seems appropriate.
Love your loved ones, y’all.