Log: Jun 23 – 29 (Tue – Mon) Grandma’s Death and a Bar Mitzvah

Jun 23 (Tue): @ Grandma’s
Jun 24 (Wed): @ Grandma’s
Jun 25 (Thu): @ Grandma’s
Jun 26 (Fri): Fly back from Grandma’s by 10a; Fly to Peter’s cousin’s place at night
Jun 27 (Sat): Peter’s cousin’s bar mitzvah
Jun 28 (Sun): Peter’s cousin’s place; Fly back home in afternoon
Jun 29 (Mon): Work 9:30a – 5:30p; Go to Uncle’s after work

Tue, Wed, Thu: With my grandma, my mom, two aunts, two uncles, and a cousin (briefly). I’m not posting TW’s because I think the title is clear: I was there again because my grandma was dying. I was there for my own sense of closure and saying goodbye as well as wanting to commiserate with my family and be of any support for them as possible. I suppose I won’t go into too much detail here but hospice was involved so we were able to help take away Grandma’s pain and take care of her there at my aunt’s house. My grandma was much more at peace there, and always surrounded by love. Some family issues came up; two siblings had a pretty severe blow-up and might not speak with each other for many years to come. Let me rewind. Also, my aunts and uncles helped me to pick out an outfit for the upcoming Bar Mitzvah, because I left all of my formal clothes back Home (with my parents and dog). I talked to my grandma or just sat near her, and each day I played some gentle piano music for her. She was in a state similar to a coma but not quite; she did respond in certain ways when we would talk to her and stroke her arm or forehead. Her eyes would blink although closed, and her mouth would close, and her breathing would steady a little. She could definitely hear us although there is no way of knowing what she could comprehend; the hospice nurses said her brain was also starting to shut down.

Fri: Left there in the morning, flew back here. Leaving there was hard. I did not want to leave. I would not have left but for the $600 plane ticket that Peter had already purchased for me. So I did decide to leave. I said my goodbyes to Grandma on Thursday night and reinforced them again on Friday morning before leaving. She’s been basically in a coma or maybe a morphine-induced fog, but there were things I wanted to say. So then I flew. Got back here, napped and packed for my flight with Peter and his dad for Peter’s cousin’s Bar Mitzvah. We left that night.

Sat: Arrived on Saturday morning. Met Peter’s paternal family. Everyone was nice. I rested a bit (hadn’t been able to sleep on the plane that night; my restless leg syndrome was being severe AND every time I started to nod off, I would jerk awake with horrible, horrible OCD intrusive thoughts). Then it was time to get dressed and ready for the Bar Mitzvah. It was really nice. I haven’t been to any before this, but I am sure it was a really nice one. The cousin’s speech was really interesting; I’d been afraid I wouldn’t be able to relate to it because I don’t know much about the religion, but he did a wonderful job and I felt very connected to what they were talking about. Of course, I didn’t know to expect a prayer/words for those mourning loved ones’ deaths near the end, so I cried and had no tissue for my snotty nose. Afterward, the reception/ceremony was pretty amazing. There was an open bar and catered food that was really good. There was mandatory dancing and I liked that. Then Peter and I danced to many of the rest of the songs anyway, although neither of us knows any dance moves. So we basically were just shuffling our feet in random ways, but it was fun. I hope a relative sends a picture so I can show my parents (pictures were allowed during this part). They’d LOVE to have seen it.

Sun: So, we left Sunday, early afternoon, after they had a bunch of family photos taken and more chatting and celebration. I got to talk with more, very nice relatives. Peter was asked to play piano for ambiance again. Then we had to leave. Flew back, said goodbye to Peter’s dad, dropped off our stuff at Peter’s place and went out to eat dinner. It was really good food. Then went to a store for a couple of supplies and that’s when my mom called me that my grandma had passed away.

She had been without food or water for a week already, and hardly eaten or drank for a long time before then. It hurts but at the same time, there was an element of relief for me. She died very peacefully, not like her husband, who struggled at the very end. My grandma’s breathing was becoming more infrequent and then at last she did not inhale again. She had waited until the family was back from a walk and they were all with her, and I’m glad for that. But it’s hard not to be there with them now. But I cannot go back right now; a coworker was getting anxious about my absence because of a large, important report that he needs me to print + bind shortly. I was hoping he’d give it to me today and then I could consider leaving again later in the week, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen today.

I had worried so long, SO, SO long, about how my mom would not be able to live on without her mom. I thought she’d be lost forever once her mom died. But it turns out, and so I think I needed to have been there and seen with my own eyes, my mom will pull through this. I saw it. She even helped with some of the night shift medicating. Reality turns into the New Norm and she is adjusting to it. I imagine it helped her too, to see Grandma during this stage of her decline. So there was this chance to see and to adjust and to live differently. I underestimated her. I guess we will all adjust to the New Norms as they happen, and I needn’t have worried so much for so many years. We deal. We handle it. We let our mental expectations change as the reality changes. We adapt.

Mon: I woke up in a pretty severe, serious mood. No joking, just taking everything very serious and saying very serious things. In contrast, I think Peter woke up in a light mood, and our conversation this morning was confusing and I’ve already written him for further clarification. I’m at work. I briefly saw my uncle. I’m going to go to his place after work today, and I’m going to watch a stupid movie with him (we’ve already planned it). He was one of the siblings involved in the blow-out and there are certain topics we’ll avoid discussing, but I’ll be glad to be with him. I talked with my mom for a while last night when she called to tell me the news about Grandma, and then I called my dad and talked with him for a while, although he and I mostly talked about my dog. I needed to talk with family. I texted with my brother some, too. ❤

UPDATE: I’ve been in a shitty, shitty mood all day today. I’ve just gone on a 2+ mile walk in the sun and I’m STILL in a shitty, shitty mood. That’s how bad it is.

It’s me. (Goals#010) (Journal#051)

I just did something really fun. I took my bicycle and Bailey down to a long, flat road, waited for the cars to pass, and then let her run with me. At first, she sort of kept by my side, just trotting along, and then a bit of a canter, so I sped up to keep up. Then it’s like she realized she could really let out some steam, and she started flat out running, so I sped up more to keep along side her. I’m pretty sure she’d report to you that she tasted some doggy heaven. You could see it in her whole body: WOOO HOOOOO!!!!!!!!! We had to slow down again for some traffic. On the way back, she was a lot slower. Finally, a tired dog! We went a little farther, just at a slow trot, and then walked back home. She did really well!! I’d say she only spent maybe 2% of the entire time trying to go in the wrong direction or toward another dog. lol 98% behaving as a perfect bicycling dog is pretty damn amazing, considering I have no idea if she’s ever done that before!!!

If I die tomorrow, have I accomplished anything? I made a dog happy for a brief moment in time. That’s something.

How will I feel good about myself? I want to help network sheltered animals to their new homes. I want to help the situation of people with no homes.

How can I do these things when I’m afraid to leave my home most of the time? What is within my walking distance that is close enough that I won’t get exhausted on the way? Why can’t other things feel as valuable to me personally?

I feel an odd urgency to get this started. Today. I wish an animal shelter was near me. Right next to me. I’d be there every day. I’ve only ever networked two animals to better places, but to me, that is what feels worthwhile in my life. All other moments, I feel are wasted away and wasting me away.

I grow more worthless by the day. I have to turn this around, Now.

Meditation Center and Solstice (Topic#038)

Autumn saucer magnolia tree

Autumn saucer magnolia tree

With the help of my aunt and cousin, I made it to the meditation center for the solstice ceremony! And I am sooooooooo glad I did. It was wonderful.

When I am there, my mind is calm, I feel accepted, my thoughts are acceptable. There is nothing too negative and nothing too positive for them. It’s probably the most wonderful place on the planet.

Because whatever is happening inside of you, there you are. There is nothing to judge. There is nothing unacceptable. You’re just there and your thoughts are just there. Or they’re not there.

Today, we sat with a Koan: Branches of light are streaming from the darkness. (I do not promise exact phrasing.) My mind was amazingly clear and calm. It seemed to be the most beautiful sentence in the world. I listened to the wind coming in through the window, and the blinds banging against the window with each breeze. Birds and dogs barking, random people milling about outside the building. I repeated the Koan to myself and stayed with it the whole time. I pictured streams of light coming from the darkness but by the end, there was no more darkness and I could no longer picture the Koan. I was so joyful inside and it was a beautiful time for me.

When we discussed our experiences afterward, everyone had such profound things to say. People spoke of lightness and darkness in their lives, their struggles, the good and the bad, the sick and the conflicts in their families. I spoke of the wind coming through the window and felt somewhat foolish, but that’s why I spoke up. I figured, maybe the other people who were not speaking up felt inferior to those bringing up such profound topics.

Also during the sitting, I noticed that my body is in SO much pain. I ache from my eyebrows down to my thighs. I have no idea why. I hadn’t even known I was in so much pain until my thoughts were calm like that and I could feel/hear/see the things around me. Then it was hard to sit without massaging my eyebrow muscles and my shoulders and my thighs… why am I in so much pain?

Happy Solstice, everyone!

WHAT IF (again) (Journal#028)

What if I do deserve to be alive?
What if there is a god and the god did mean for me to be here?
What if there is something I can do?

What if not everybody hates me?
What if my negativity is okay? What if it doesn’t make me a bad person?
What if I’m a good person?

What if I’m just a person, neither good or bad or relevant or irrelevant?
What if I deserve this life?
What if I deserve all of the good things?
What if this isn’t some giant mistake, meant for someone more deserving? What if it’s for me?

What if I’m allowed to live this life? What if it’s okay?
What if the potential is all there for me? What if these opportunities are for me after all? What if I’m deserving?

What if I deserve to be alive? What if it’s okay that I’m alive?
What if it’s okay that I’m alive and do not suffer as so many do?

What if I could stop being so afraid?

Gratitude & Refocusing (Journal#016)

Autumn trees and sky

Autumn trees and sky  |  This morning

I feel so much gratitude and warmth right now. I’m not going to go into details (amazing, I know), but Thank You, all of you, for being there and being so accepting. Even when my words come out a little crazy and I FEEL a little crazy, there’s always somebody there who is accepting & not judging of it.

I feel a moment of peace, and that’s my only real goal in life.

So hold onto this feeling and aim for this feeling. When the thoughts turn crazy, try to remember it’s okay. Don’t judge your own thoughts. Let the crazy be as crazy as it wants to be and it’s okay. Just let it subside and keep on breathing.

I’m going to continue on this path because that’s who I want to be. This is where I want to head. Don’t judge, don’t blame. Just give yourself the time and move on when you’re ready. Don’t berate yourself for going negative. Don’t hate yourself for expressing negative things. It’s okay.

I’m mostly talking to myself here, but if it helps any of you, all the better. ❤

I had insomnia again last night. My thoughts were too busy to let me rest. And I felt so lonely and wanted a hug. So I sat up and tried meditating on a Koan I mentioned having just learned: “Can I bear this happiness?” At first, I couldn’t connect. I wasn’t feeling happiness at all. My thoughts scattered across the room. I would whisper the sentence and then a minute would pass with my thoughts all over the damn place. I’d remember what I was doing and whisper it again, and same thing. After at least seven minutes, I did start to focus, and the most amazing things happened. I felt warmth spreading through my body. I felt a little fuzz of joy inside. I smiled. I thought of positive things. It’s really indescribable and amazing. I am astounded that it could get beneath my skin so quickly and make such a difference.