8.07.2009

turn turn turn

A year ago today, I had a big belly. I was 38 weeks pregnant with Alice. I love 38 weeks. 38 weeks is happy and bittersweet and full of promise. 38 weeks means it could be another week or two, but it probably won't be much longer than that.

A year ago today, I was feeling proud of myself, nervous for the future, ready for the next chapter. I was parenting a 19 month old (easy peasy, sorry, but it is) and felt like I had a handle on everything. I made healthy lunches from the produce I had delivered from organic local farms. I was out and about, taking Clark to the zoo and the State Fair. I was full of energy. My house was clean. I was blissed out and proud. It's so funny how much credit we give ourselves for having our act together (during the very brief periods of havingacttogetherness) when so much of it is circumstance. And God.

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Today my kids had Jimmy Dean's microwavable sausage biscuits for lunch.

Yes, both kids. Even the baby.

I ate the cold leftovers with soapy hands that had been scrubbing food from the walls throughout lunch time.

Today I cried a lot. More than a lot.

I made my kids take two naps even though Clark generally takes zero naps. I cleaned the house not because I fancy myself to be a terrific housekeeper, but because it distracted me from the crying.

My grandpa is really sick. Really sick. Since his final clear-cut diagnosis of ALS in January, he has gone downhill rapidly. ALS is totally horrifying. Papa is now almost entirely paralyzed. He can't move his legs or arms or hands or feet. He weighs less than I do. His speech is deteriorating. His breathing is getting worse. Yet his brain is totally normal and aware.

His hospice nurse says it will be days. Maybe a week. Possibly two weeks. Probably not much longer than that.

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I used to have nightmares when I was in elementary school about losing my grandparents. I would wake up and find my pillow soaking wet because I had been sobbing in my sleep. I still feel like that.

I am wrestling constantly with the idea that he needs to pass out of his physical body, a body that has turned on him and imprisoned him and the fact that death means I won't get to see him anymore. At least not for awhile.

My grandpa is the one person in the whole world that I have always wanted to please. To impress. I'm not going to lie-- he adores me. I'm his girl. I want to be the version of myself he sees.

I remember once when I was about 10 Papa asked me to sing "Hopelessly Devoted To You" for his buddy who was visiting. My grandpa was a life long pianist and organist. He just wanted to show off my little wavering wannabe-a-Broadway-star ten year old voice as he accompanied me. Can I tell you something? There is not a thing in the world I wanted to do less than sing "Hopelessly Devoted To You" for my grandpa's friend, a stranger. But I totally did it. Because Papa asked me to. You know?

And if he asked me tomorrow to sing it again? I would. I would sing it so loud.

33 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm thinking of you. I'm so sorry, Erin. If there is anything I could do. Please let me know. Need me to drive over there and sing for him, too? For you? I will.

    Steph

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  2. What beautiful memories you have of your Grandpa. Words escape me, because in a situation like this, it seems there is nothing anyone can say to make it better. I went through a similar experience 4 months ago watching my brother die. It's horrific, being torn between wanting their suffering to stop and not wanting to let them leave this life. As if we had a choice in the matter, but oh how our hearts ache either way. I don't know you & I don't mean to offend in any way, but I will pray for you & your family to find peace & courage through this time.

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  3. I'm sorry Erin. I know he is so special to you. I'm praying for him, you, your family. Love you, friend.

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  4. All in the same breath we celebrate life, and mourn death.
    It's the reason to cling to every day that we do have, with our family, with loved ones.

    Today you can celebrate your daughter is a year old! and from what I can tell, Happy and Healthy!
    That's something to be proud of, jimmy dean sausage or not.

    Dont be so hard on yourself. You're lovely!!!

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  5. I know its tough. I remember when my mom was getting ready to pass and the hospice nurse gave us a book that had the signs of death. It was horrible. And my mom fit everyone. But what I held on to was the fact that she was leaving that prison body of hers and was going to be DANCING! Your papa will be playing the piano in heaven! Hold on to that. And hang in there. I am praying for you.

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  6. I'm so so sorry. I was never that close to my grandparents. You're so blessed to have such beautiful memories. I'll be praying for you and your family.

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  7. i know what you're going through, and it is so, so difficult. the grandpa that i loved so much had a similar disease, parkinson's,a neurological disorder, with similar effects. sadly (??), it did not take him quickly, and it was an awful, heartwrenching thing to watch. i was so relieved when he was finally gone, because it was so hard to see such a smart, funny, loving man go in such a sad way. i hope you find peace, and know that your grandpa had a happy life, and how much he loves you.

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  8. I'm so sorry. I watched a co-worker pass from ALS, and a close friend was diagnosed two years ago. I'm afraid for her every day. You and your grandpa will be in my prayers.

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  9. I'm sorry, Erin. I know. Not ALS, but Huntington's. This is the hard part. Love to you.

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  10. And you're still just as amazing a mom as you were a year ago. Perhaps even more so.
    Like Steph said, if there is anything I can do, please let me know. I'm close enough to drive to you if you need that. Love you.

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  11. You are in my thoughts, Erin. This is such a beautiful post, and I can FEEL the love and awe you have for your grandfather.

    I'm so so sorry.

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  12. Sending good thoughts your way. xoxox ~~Emily

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  13. I'm so sorry Erin. So sorry. I'll keep your Papa, and your entire family, in my prayers.

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  14. Found you through twitter.
    I'm so sorry. I am praying for you and yours...
    Robin
    All Things Heart and Home

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  15. My thoughts are with you. As someone who has lost a grandparent and has another fighting a terminal illness I know what you are feeling and nothing makes it easier. What a wonderful granddaughter you are! Big hugs!

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  16. I am so, so very sorry. You express your pain and sorrow beautifully. But I know that doesn't make it any easier to go through this.

    I really know how you feel, lady. Hugs and love.

    I'm humming that song right now.

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  17. Erin, I am so very sorry! I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes from reading this post. I understand completely what its like to love a grandparent so very much. You are so blessed to have such a beautiful relationship with him.

    You and your grandpa are in my prayers right now. Hugs to you!

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  18. What a lovely legacy he has in his sweet granddaughter and gorgeous great-grandchildren.

    Thinking of you.

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  19. Beautiful. I'm teary eyed and wishing I could hug you (even though we've never met and I only know you from your posts). I'll say a prayer for you and your papa right now. And I totally know what you mean about the having it together with only one kid mentality/reality. Right now I have the let's make it through another day with three kids mentality/reality. Ha ha. But I love my babies and I am so happy to be their mommy. Even though my house is never ever perfectly clean anymore, and I'm even (slowly) losing my grip on my ocd organized closets/cupboards/drawers, etc. Anyway. Praying now. May you find in your Creator that peace that passes all understanding tonight.

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  20. I hope you know how much we love you. I'm praying for you. All the time. Letting go of people we love is the hardest thing there is. I wish I could be there to hug you. But I'm so glad that you have Clark and Alice to hug. That may be the best comfort there could be. Your Papa sounds like an amazing man. It's obvious that he played a big part in turning you into the beautiful, confident person you are today.

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  21. what beautiful memories this post is filled with. so sorry for your heartache right now.

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  22. Praying for you Erin. I have special Grandparents too....they helped my dad raise me after my mother died when I was very young. I have lost both of my Grandpa's and my Grandma's are still here....but it is truly one of the hardest thing...I don't want to give you lots more words, just wanted to say that I understand and that I grieve with you. Even in death and sickness, our God is kind and good...praising Him for the gift of your grandfather and asking him to comfort you during these days.

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  23. Erin, this is just heartbreaking. I'm so sorry your family has to experience such a difficult time. What a special gift is to have grandparents that love well.

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  24. Oh Erin,

    I can't say I had the exact same relationship with my G'pa, because that wouldn't be fair. But what you said here hit me so hard in the heart because I lost both of mine in the last two years. And I sobbed and I scrubbed and remembered. God, I loved those men. I miss them. I'm so sorry.

    I was there when my Grandpa Glenn died just over a year ago. My family and I sang to him as he left. It wasn't the best singing, but we knew it was what he would want. It was beautiful.

    So sing if you want to.

    Love you,
    Heather

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  25. The way you ended that brought real tears to my eyes. I'm so terribly sorry.

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  26. i'm so very sorry. i remember when my grandfather died feeling very many of the same feelings you are right now.

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  27. Oh, I am so sorry.
    I saw your blog mentioned on Heather (of the EO) tweet.
    It's just so hard to say goodbye, but even harder to watch someone you love slip away slowly :(

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  28. Oh Erin...the first time I've been here, but know my heart is aching for you. My 93 year old Papa is okay, but well, he's 93. Wishing you strength amidst the sadness.

    Peace, Sister.

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  29. Oh, honey. I am so sorry. Your Grandpa sounds incredibly special. I know your heart is just breaking. The pain of watching someone you love so much slip away is next to unbearable. Just know that you WILL see each other again. There's no doubt about that. I'm praying that God sends you, your family, and your Grandpa His peace.

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  30. i'm so sorry, erin. i know how sad this disease is to watch. my mother-in-law was diagnosed with als too, and it just doesn't get more heartbreaking than watching them trapped in their own deteriorating body. we are praying for him, you, and the rest of your family. xoxo

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  31. So sorry, Erin. Really.

    Thinking of you,
    Stephanie

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  32. Oh Erin! I wish I could give you a big hug! I am so sorry! I have been away from my computer and haven't been keeping up with all the goings on in blogland. You are such a dear sweet girl, and your grandpa is so blessed to have you. I will be praying for you and your family. Praying for the strength, peace and rest, that only God can give.
    Blessings, Molly

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