Dying in Conversation

As you know from my previous couple of blogs, my precious gran is in the end stages of life. I am trying, with all my might to slow down and be present in the process. I want to cherish the last moments and observe outside of what I normally would.

Today was good. Relatively speaking.
My gran was more responsive. She was awake most of the day. She knew who we all were. She could carry on conversations. She scolded my uncle for picking on me (she always has taken up for me).  I find myself wondering if this is a boost of good because the end is more near or if we really are improving in some ways. I’m a little selfish in her good day because it gave me another chance to visit and have conversation with her.
I don’t think we enjoy simple conversation enough.  I think we sometimes feel like we have to speak so “significantly” and be full of opinions, that we forget some of the best things shared, are simple.
Today, I purposely had and soaked up plain conversations.  And even still, in the midst of this sadness, my heart is so full.  I cannot say that enough.  My heart is SO FULL.  I am amazed at how when you slow down, what you really get out of it.
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I talked with my gran who even in dying, is still showing upmost kindness.  She apologizes to her nurses for having to do the unpopular work.  She says yes ma’am and no ma’am.  She doesn’t ask for anything.  But she tells you that she loves you.  She scolds my uncle for picking on me.  I watched her talk to every single visitor she has had today.  She has asked more about them than giving them the chance to check on her.  She asked great-granddaughters how their day was and never complained even when she was tired.
I soaked up her simple kindness in conversation.

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I talked with my little nieces who came to visit.  I had the privilege of keeping them occupied in the spare room so we wouldn’t disturb gran and my sister could visit with her, without little hands and voices.  I learned that Oreos are very important to toddlers.  Few sounds are sweeter than the conversations between sisters as they share some Sweet-Tarts.
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I learned that 6 year olds know what selfies, Snapchat amd wi-fi is. Sometimes all we really need are a handful of snacks, an Oreo crumbed kiss and to hear “ricia I wub you whole bunch”
I soaked up innocence in conversation.
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I visited with my gran’s aide (I also used to work with her as a teenager when I was an ER clerk). She has served others for 26 years.  She has always been vivacious.  She loves a good casino and shopping trip.  She just lost her husband 2 months ago and decided to keep working to stay busy.  Her dog also died this week.  She is thankful.  My gran responded the most in conversation (that I saw) with her.  Her voice is gentle.
I soaked up strength, resilience and gentle in conversation.
Today is good.  My spirit needed it.

Dying Stories

  Today was exhausting. My body just doesn’t do well in situations like this and things in general just weren’t going my way. The time with family tonight sure turned my frowns upside down. I am thankful. I mean that with every fiber of me. 

Anyway- 

1. I am soooo thankful that I made the decision to come when I did. It means so much to be able to say goodbye. Today made it clear that chance has passed so I will cherish that I made it in time. 

2. Stories. Oh my word. Anyone who knows me, knows there are plenty of Yell Co stories in my arsenal. But the ones I have heard tonight for the first time are awesome. I rarely get to spend good soul time with my uncles, and I don’t think people really share stories anymore. But to be unplugged from technology in these late nights when we can’t sleep and hear story after story has been awesome. It feels weird to say that since it has only happened because of sadness…but I Wish everyone could meet my Uncle Lewis and hear him talk. 

3. Speaking of stories, tonight we covered noodling (my fam did it way better than those tv shows), hunting, mountain lion debates, uncle don’s new addiction to FB and my most fav of all, dating. The love and respect between my aunts and uncles is so cool. Watching them tell me their love story and see them go down memory lane is beyond sweet. 

4. I have had some pretty great examples of couples love and the power of never giving up. The men in my family have set a really high bar. Probably why I am still single…because I expect what my grandparents and aunts and uncles have. Even if I stay single forever, I have still experienced great love, even if it is second hand. And that’s good enough for me!

Dying Hands

As fun as it is to post the dating dramatics and shopping in my closet outfits, my writing (which honestly has always been more for my own therapy than if one person read it or not) lately has been to release and process the fact that I am facing my grandmother’s passing.   
It’s probably a bit morbid to think that this is what I asked for. No, of course I didn’t ask for my grandmother to go through this that will end in her passing. She is my favorite person I have ever known and I could fill up so much of your time bragging about her. But I did ask for a slow down and a reset. I did ask for more time with my family and to bring some appreciation and perspective back into my life. And that is certainly what is happening. It’s not easy. And I am not saying my train of thought is for you to agree with. But I am saying that even in the saddest of times, there is a lesson. You get to choose whether you grow from the experience and learn a lesson or whether you wallow or even go backwards. I am choosing to learn. 

  
I am fortunate to be able to spend these last moments with her. I feel even more fortunate that even in the little sleep we are getting, that I am getting alone time with her in the later hours after everyone has gone home. 
Tonight, her hands are telling the stories. 

  

These hands. My goodness they have been through some stuff. 
They have worked themselves to the bone as a farmer. 
They have cooked no less than 10,000 of the best meals you have ever had. 
They have stroked my hair as a little girl while I laid in her lap during church and listened to my pop teach. 
They have been firm on my butt maybe once or twice. 
They have wiped tears and been the best comfort when my parents were mean to me 😝
They have prayed while the heart ached over the loss of her forever love. 
They have been the kindest hands I have ever known…..

Earning My Stripes

Today’s shopping in my closet comes courtesy of copy catting. I have seen plaid and stripes a lot and been wanting to try it on myself. I am sure some of you out there can relate to a fear of putting stripes on a bigger body. But, if I am gonna live unapologetically this year, I can’t say I am sorry for trying off beat patterns. 
  
It is probably still too soon to wear this dress for the stomach I still have. But i did it and I am not sorry. This dress was made to do you favors and those criss-cross stripes are my friend! Most importantly, it’s all comfy for the all day meetings I am headed into. 

Luckily, thanks to great hair and good lipstick, my only decisions are how to manage my water intake to bathroom trip ratio when I am stuck in a conf room all day!! 

  
I dare you to wear stripes and plaid. And I dare you to have a good day doing it!!