My aunt is dying.
She is my mother’s brother’s wife and she has been dying for some time, I suppose. She was diagnosed with COPD some time back and has just been slowly sliding downhill ever since. Every once in awhile there has been a dramatic dip and a scary shift and every time we would wonder, is this it? Is it time? She would pull through, however, and go on in what is now her new normal. Her new normal is so sadly different from her old normal and I don’t she can reconcile the two and I don’t think she’s happy. We’re at that weird stage where we start to wonder what we’re even hoping for anymore.
It was like this with my grandmother, my mother’s mother, the first Faith. She was diagnosed with cancer, given six months to live and ended up making it for ten. Towards the end she viewed everything as a chore; eating, walking, sitting, talking. She told me that “this is not living” and, oh how I loved her and it made me happy to just breathe the same air as her, but I knew she should go and I knew that was what had to happen. It broke my heart, it eased my heart. It’s impossible to describe the overwhelming sadness but the slight relief it gave me when she passed.
I’ve been thinking of my grandmother a lot recently. This whole thing with my aunt is bringing up these old feelings and it is summertime, which makes me think of being with my grandmother in Savannah. It was always happy times with her. I was never bored; I never had to be constantly entertained with expensive toys or activities. Just me and my grandmother in her tiny house, going on walks, or running errands, playing checkers, reading books, doing crosswords, and talking. Always talking, all day long. Those were some of the easiest and happiest times growing up.
This never fails to hit me like a ton of bricks, this passing of time. It seems like there was never this life before Faith and James, yet there was. I was the child, my aunt was young and vibrant, my grandmother was healthy and alive and my friend, now time marches on and people start to drift out of life.
Yet the memories are there. I can only hope to pass some of those on to my children either by voice or by action. I can channel my Granny, laughing hard and deep and raspy, getting on the kids level, appreciating them, and appreciating little parts of life.