Monday, October 04, 2010

Taking The Long Way Home

As I type this it's currently after 11pm on Sunday the third of October. There's no internet connection here, so I plan to do a bit of writing for "the blog" in Notepad and then post it tomorrow night at the hotel as we travel home from this beautiful mountain top we've stayed at the past couple of days. (Found enough internet connection to post this sill thing I call a blog. Yay?)

For those of you not paying attention, I'm in northern California with my Mom. We've traveled down from Oregon to visit my Uncle Ron, Aunt Diane and Grandma.  We've also managed to see my cousin Trichelle, her husband Brett and their gaggle of children as well as my Aunt Julie and her brood of three. All of which I've to whom I've come to say, "Goodbye." None of which to whom I've actually said, "Goodbye." (Don't you hate the rules of the English language. Sometimes it just drives me nuts that I can't end a sentence with a preposition. Nor can I end a sentence with a PEP-O-sition which, I guess, would either leave the reader feeling more "pepp" as in energy or leave the reader with a nice minty taste in one's mouth.) It seems that my family, like most other families, don't like to say goodbye. My Grandma and I haven't even broached the subject yet and we're leaving tomorrow morning. (That is to say that my Mom and I are leaving, not my Grandma and I.) The subject has been broached with my Aunt Diane, who currently is headed toward cancer remission and, probably, a full recovery and my Uncle Ron. But when broached has been responded to with the quick, "You never know," scenario and a version of the , "We're all gonna die," which manifested with more of a, "We're all headed toward a finish line, you just know, maybe, what time you're gonna arrive there." It's very sweet, but the old, "Run your race," analogy isn't so helpful right now.

Everyone means his or her best. It's been a good trip, though I seem to have slept through the majority of the driving. I guess what I need people, relatives, church family, friends and even acquaintances to understand is that I NEED to say goodbye. Maybe it's early and, yes, it's still possible, though doubtful, that God could heal me, but I still fear going out of this world with people who mean something to me not knowing how much they mean/meant to me. See, this isn't really about the proverbial "you", it's about me trying to tie up so many loose ends. It's about not leaving things here unfinished. I'm sure I will. I'm positive that there are many things I either want or need to do before I die that will not be accomplished. But some things are more important to me than others. Some stay at the very front of my brain. And that's saying something because not much sticks to my brain at all anymore. But, I need to say, "Goodbye."

There are people, those closest to me in fact, to whom I will probably not end up saying goodbye. I can't imagine saying it to my wife. By the time that I should I will probably have passed into some kind of choma because my liver has just finally given up. I'm not sure, even if I had the proper time at the end, that my parents would accept me saying goodbye. I'm crying enough right now that I can't imagine the difficulty of that actual moment. Of course, there's also the urge to say farewell to everyone now and just go off into the woods and wait. There's a "logical" place in my brain that says such a scenario would be easiest on them and on myself. Reality and wisdom say that would only hurt them and be seen as some kind of suicide.

This trip, along with almost everything lately, has been hard, I've had no energy. I've slept a lot. I was nauseous for most of today, beginning with a run to the bathroom from my Aunt & Uncle's living room in the hopes of saving the carpet and not providing their wire-haired dachshund, Annie, with an alternative meal. It's been hard on me physically. I don't think it's what my Mom was hoping for either. She, and I, both expected a lot of talking and reminiscing. What she got was snoring.

Tomorrow I have to set down with my Grandma and say goodbye. It's the most important part of this trip for me. It's the root of why I'm here. I don't know if I'll be able to do it. I'm not sure if I have the guts to say those words to my Grandmother. I've told her, on many occasions, how much she means to me. But saying this last goodbye may be more than I've got in me.

I think that a part of that is I expected to have the long marriage to Kristin that my Grandma and Grandpa shared. So, I'm also, in some weird way, saying goodbye to that... again. Today I took a shower in my Grandma's apartment, which is attached and just off of the main house here. On a glass shelf near the sink and medicine cabinet my Grandma still has all of Grandpa's colognes. Just sitting there. Just the way he left them. One still missing the top. I imagine, that if I had died in my 70's, Kristin would have done similar for me. I don't expect, or want, her to do that now of course. It's just all these things. It's all these things we kind of "plan" in our head. We never know if they'll really happen but they are our desires. Those are gone for me now. Kristin and I will never have a 50th wedding anniversary, we'll never give MY parents grand-kids (with the exception of Belle), I'll never get to watch Kristin get more and more beautiful as she gets older.

It's funny. Kristin just started getting her first gray hairs when her Father was in the hospital a couple of years ago, before my cancer diagnosis. I think they're beautiful. She's beautiful. She's only going to get more beautiful as time passes. I wont be here to share that or rejoice in who she continues to become... in who WE would've continued to become

I'm, as you may tell, pretty emotional these days. Just be ready to put up with me. I don't need people arguing with me about when I'm going to die. I'll be happy if I'm wrong. I'll be happy if all the tests and doctors are wrong. I'll be elated to praise my God if he/she chooses to heal me. But that's not what I see coming down the tracks. The tracks I'm standing on and can't seem to jump from.

If I forget to say it later, or sooner, "Goodbye."

PS: It just started thundering outside the window. How's that for timing?

Also, wik:
 This is, I feel, rather slovenly written. I apologize. Sometimes these things come straight from my gut and skip the filters. So bear with me. I can't/won't promise that the grammar gets better, but I will promise that usually 97% of you will not notice how bad it is.

Also, also, wik:

I don't really know a way out but I think I'd like to have a lot less to do with planning my own "memorial service." It's starting to become very depressing for me. Don't really know what to do about that though now do I?

Right now I'm listening and crying to this song: Rebecca Go Home (Gift Horse Album Version)


Taleena said...

Aaron - Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for sharing your feelings. Many of us who have been the caregiver for someone facing their own mortality have wondered what they are thinking... feeling. Sometimes they let us into their thoughts but not very often. I think maybe they don't want to frighten us. Or they are frightened themselves. Or they are sad or don't want to make us sad. Reading this is so incredibly eye opening. It is easy for the rest of us to think that the person facing this has the easy part. We are the ones left to deal with the loss. But how do we know what's on the other side? How do we know what the person leaving is dealing with? We don't. Thank you for sharing with us what we don't have a clue about. Yes, are all mortal and we are all dying. But I can only imagine it's much different knowing the time is coming. I can imagine it doesn't make it easy. God bless you. May He give you strength and courage and peace and guidance. And may He bless Kristin and be with her as she follows your journey as far as she can go and starts her new life when you start yours. God bless you both. Love and hugs, Cousin Taleena...

Bill said...

This is how you say goodbye Aaron. Your blog, your twitter, your youtube. Then no stone is left unturned.