I talked about my aunt here. Since then, things have gone down hill. Progressively. We were never able to move her to any of the nice facilities we found locally. She just kept getting worse and worse, no matter what the doctors tried to do.
Today, this afternoon, they told my father that it’s time for hospice. There is nothing else they can do for her except make her comfortable for her last days on this earth. I am pretty sure the majority of us have seen this coming, though one of my siblings is not able to accept the inevitable. Yet. I am sorry for him, but there comes a time when the end is the end.
I am feeling sad. I love my aunt so much. She has been one of the least judgmental, most supportive person I’ve ever known. She and my uncle were such an integral part of our lives. They were so special to us. I am so so so thankful to have had them in my life for so many years. I am so very lucky to have known them, loved them, and been loved by them. I have cried hard, wrenching tears these past few weeks. I have cried “soft” tears, where they just roll and roll and roll down my cheeks. This loss is going to be huge…a massive hole left behind in our lives. I feel like the holes in my heart from the losses I have are covering more surface than are left whole.
I am feeling guilt. I saw my uncle before he died. I went to see him because I wanted my aunt to know how much he meant to me…he was not conscious so he had no idea. I saw my nana the day she died…hours before. I did that for my mom. I don’t want my father to think I care any less about his feelings…but to add another traumatic image to my already addled brain (I have the horrible ability to see images in my head over and over again), I’m not sure I can handle it. The guilt over this is wide and long, heavy on my heart and my soul. Crushing. I’m not sure one decision is even better than the other at this point, because either way I will harbor the emotions…yes or no? Go or not.
I am feeling fear. The fear of loss and grief yet to come. I can only feel so much pain right now. I am afraid of what is to come when the loss sets in and the grief comes hard behind it. I have known more loss and grief in the last 13 years than I’ve know all my life. I understand it is a function of life to lose those you love. That does not make the loss and grief any less. And although it has not necessarily been clustered together, it feels that way in my mind and in my heart. The fear of change, too, is boiling inside me. The fear of our lives uprooted as the change descends seemingly all at once. The fear of seeing my father age so fast as he handles this phase of his older sister’s life.
The fear of losing my parents nearly squeezes my heart until it struggles to beat. I am so close to my parents that I’m not sure I can even begin to comprehend what my life would be like without one or both of them.
I wanted to end this post with the things that I am thankful for. It is going to be a struggle because right now the grief is so big. Possibly–likely–by the time this publishes, things will have come to their conclusion.
I am so so thankful for
- The amazing life my aunt and uncle had together.
- The love I always saw between them
- The love that was always present in their home
- The way they loved me and took me in like I were theirs
- The treasures of life they shared with me over the 40+ years I had with them
- The knowledge and joy they shared with me over the 40+ years I had with them
- The laughter
- The rummy king my aunt always played with me
- The wonderful child they bore and raised–a cousin so like me both our parents used to call us by each others names
- The patience and understanding they showed toward me and taught me to have toward others
- The way they loved.
- The way they loved.
- The way they loved.
There are so many more things I want to say about my aunt. Most of all it was the love that she never failed to share with me and with my siblings and with everyone around her. Everyone was family to her. And family was more than family.
She’s a blessing in this world.
And before I could even schedule this to post, I say good bye to Tante Freidel. She was a blessing to us all. Thank you for all you did for me. And thank you for all you did for Dad. I hope you and Yonkel are together again.