Tuesday, April 26, 2011

rainbows at midnight

This is not The Lion King, I don't feel like I need to learn about 'the circle of life' anymore, and being a grown-up isn't all it is cracked up to be.  Last week was a roller coaster and I am honestly surprised I have came out on the other end of it in one piece--and not even an ER visit!  We drove to Okanogan to see the family over the weekend--a car trip with a burnt boob, achy armpit, and a dog that can't handle a car ride can really be exhausting.

We lost my Grandpa Charlie this past week.  He passed in his sleep, it was very unexpected. Even typing that makes tears well up in my eyes so quickly I can't even blink them out.  I think, actually I know, I have one of the strongest families I have ever met. We bond over triumph and grief and we have had a lot of both for our lifespan.  When you are going through life and loss hits you, it is like a gut punch, one you can't recover from quickly...........you need to listen to your body and let it work its way out. 

I spent the weekend hearing stories from my Grandma, giving and receiving lots of hugs and spending time with family, many of whom I haven't seen since I was diagnosed last summer.  What a sad circumstance, but being surrounded by loved ones is the way to grieve.  My Grandma Lou is hands-down one of the strongest women I have ever met (I think she may be tied with my Mom).  Just being around her makes me appreciate my life in a way I haven't in a long time.  When you see someone grieve, really grieve (and take care of everyone else around her) you can't help but take a snapshot of your life and put things in perspective.

When I look at my Grandma, I see my mom.  I see my mom when she was grieving the unexpected loss of my Dad. I see the family, as I saw my sisters and I--just grasping for a thread to hold onto somewhere.  You just float through the day, not really grounded or connected to anything--just there; your minds way of protecting you, if you handled the loss all at once, you would break.  And we were all broken, but together we became whole--a different whole than before....but we put the pieces back together and became who we are today.

Scott and I also suffered our first loss that wasn't extended (meaning we were hit so hard together, as a couple....then just a ripple effect for those who know us).  We had to put our beagle, Archer, down.  In the perspective of life, this may seem small to some people, but to us....it was our world.  In that 'snapshot' of life, I mentioned earlier, this was a decision that was far from easy.  He was our first baby, our first 'investment' we made together, he was who were were 4 years ago, for awhile he was our everything, but he became unbelievably aggressive. We knew it was coming, but we kept putting it off (for years) until he attacked me in the backyard last week.  He would go from the sweetest thing, to something I didn't recognize, I became terrified, and after researching all our options, and many hours of handholding and tears, we made our decision.  We were lucky enough to find a wonderful vet to come to the house, we were able to hold Archer while he was sedated and then passed, it gave us some closure..........but it is gut-wrenching, and I feel heavy with guilt and sadness. 

Last week was filled with loss, this week is filled with over-reactive emotion.  I need to be careful, talking good stuff about Scott may go to his head.....but I couldn't have asked the world to send me a better partner.  Our personalities are so different, but our hearts seem to be the same.  He can keep me grounded when I feel like I am going to fly off the handle.....and through the loss of my Dad, my Grandpa, and Archer he was my rock.  He knows how I work, how I react, and how I grieve...he has a way of just making things better--I am lucky enough to have a constant support in life--the kind of rock I can't move, even when I feel like rolling him down a hill....

When people talk about 'old souls' I wonder if that happens when a short life is stuffed with so much 'life experience' that they are bursting.  That their bodies and minds take all that experience and weave a pattern of wisdom that settles internally?   Will I wake up one day and be an 'old soul?'  Will I be lucky enough to have all of this (all the shit that is going on around me, in the world, in my life, in the lives of my friends and family) make sense and be settled and grounded? Will I be able to create paths of wisdom for others to navigate during a time of crisis, of loss, of cancer, of life?  

I sure as hell hope so.

1 comment:

  1. Dori-
    I am so sorry for your loss, both of your grandpa and Archer. You are an amazingly strong woman, right up there with the other matriarchs in your family! I hope you find some comfort during this time of grief and can see some "light" at the end of this long battle with radiation and that your burning flesh starts to heal. Always thinking about you!

    <3 Jessica