This is more of an update on how I’m holding up today. I don’t have any updates on my grandpa, which I suppose is a good thing. His heart didn’t stop middle of the night. Last night, they told me that they would start feeding him through tubes. We’re supposed to meet with a team tonight (if they stay true to their word) about… well, I’m not quite sure. My brother and my mom were the ones who were informed, not me. It seems like possible hospice care/treatment and funeral arrangements, etc.
I’ll be going down to see him in a bit.
I cried less today. I didn’t need to run to the bathroom to cry during the day. My mom called me late morning to let me know she was on the way to the hospital because they needed to discuss something with a family member(s). She said she would call me back later to let me know what happens.
Fear gripped me immediately. My lungs forgot how to inhale oxygen normally. I could feel my bones shaking. It took over an hour for an update from my mom. That wait was agonizing. I was bracing myself for a blow. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to function the rest of the day and was preparing myself to race down to the hospital.
How relieved I was when she did call me to let me know that they just wanted us to speak with this team tonight, that they would give my brother a call to work out a time.
After that, the rest of the day was bearable.
It’s a curious thing, the way genuine laughter can still escape my lips, that I can still joke with co-workers, that I can still smile to myself like an idiot when my work crush says something adorable.
I listened to a sermon today, too. The title seemed quite fitting for me – “Yet Will I Rejoice in the Lord.” Going into this post, I wanted to share a bit on it, but I’m now finding that I don’t have the energy or willpower to do that today. But if you have the time, I encourage you to give it a listen as well.
Although I was calm for most of my day, the morning was rough.
I woke up and considered calling out of work. My eyes burned and were heavy from the swollen weight. Falling asleep was difficult last night. It took two hours of tossing, turning, crying, numbing my mind with social media, etc.
First thing I did when I woke up was cry some more. Perhaps I was able to get through today because I’m currently cried out. Or maybe I am just satisfied in knowing that today is an extra day with a beating heart for my grandpa. Maybe that news alone is enough to alleviate my heartache for the day.
We’ll see how I hold when I see him tonight.
Because last night was hard. And one of the reasons I cried so much when all I desired was sleep was because I have the image of him in that hospital bed, without his dentures, eyes closed, a million tubes going into him, burned into my mind. Because when I think about my grandfather, that is all I can see. Because I have to face each new day knowing that this is how he will be in my last days with him.
And, I take it back. I guess it isn’t enough, because now I find myself breaking again.
I tried to not cry on my drive to work. That’s quite dangerous, after all. But, the pain of last night was not scared off by the new day’s light. Because pain wants to grip me as tightly as possible. Because this is not the kind of pain I can push away. Because this is pain in depths that I didn’t know I would ever feel. It is covered in knives, piercing me with every roll and turn. If I thought I had known pain well before, the past 72+ hours have taught me otherwise. Whatever pain I knew before this now seem like fleeting flirtations. Now, with this pain, I’m getting to know it more intimately than I could have ever imagined, as if it’s settling into the cracks of my skin.
And a huge part of me worries that I’m over-feeling, that someone might look at me and think I’m being dramatic. I’m not the first to lose someone I love. There is constant suffering in the world.
It’s an irrational guilt, I know. Yet, I still feel it. I still worry. I still find myself questioning my right to my heartbreak. So if you’re reading this and you’re shaking your head at me, remind me. Assure me that I am allowed to feel what I’m feeling and how I’m feeling it.
I have a few others favors to ask any of you who are reading.
First, please, PLEASE do not ask me if I am okay.
I know what you are asking when you do, even if you don’t necessarily realize it yourself. It’s a question of are my thighs still free of cuts, is my system still free of alcohol, do I need shoulders to cry on, is there anything you can do for me, how am I feeling today, am I feeling any better, have I been eating, is my tiredness more than I can bear right now?
I appreciate the concern. I do. Please do not mistake me for ungrateful. I find comfort in knowing that I am so underserving of so much love, and yet, am still blessed enough to be showered with gracious and generous love and support.
But when you ask me if I’m okay, my insides scream. I don’t say this to make anyone feel bad, but I want you to know why it is that I’m asking you to refrain from that question.
When you ask that question, my insides want to scream in reply, “Would you be okay right now? Do you think I could possible be okay right now?”
I don’t like telling people I’m doing ok if I’m not. Even the polite, in-passing, standard work talk when you ask each other how you’re doing. I hate having to tell people, “I’m good! You?” But, I also hate telling people I’m not okay because again, it’s not easy for me to tell someone I’m hurting, because that’d be a social no-no.
So, don’t put me in that position, please. My answer is no, I’m not okay. And that will be my answer for awhile. I know that eventually, I will be. But right now, I cannot imagine a life where my heart doesn’t feel like it’s being attacked by everything scary and sharp.
“Okay” will take time, so please give me that. Give me time. You will know when I’m okay, I promise.
I know you don’t ask with an expectation for me to actually be “okay.” I know for some of you, it seems like the innocuous way to check up on me, to give me the space to talk if I need, to ask for help in whatever forms I might need.
I know that you are willing and ready to jump to my side if I need. So please, know that I will ask if there is anything practical, something concrete that you can do for me.
Ah! But, there are some things.
What can you do for me now? Aside from prayers?
Tell me how I can be praying for you.
I desperately need your prayers for my family and myself because I don’t have the strength to put actual words together. All I can give God now are weak groans and tears. All I can give him is my silence, my loss for words, and a hope that He is listening to the prayers that each of my breaths carry.
But, I need to pray. So, give me compelling reasons to pray. Let me pray for you. Let me not just sit and wallow in my sorrow. It can be something small, something you are afraid sounds trivial compared to what is happening with my grandfather. How God is working within my life and my family’s right now does not invalidate or change the ways in which He is working through your life. So, if you are willing to share, please do. And if they are prayers of praise and thanksgiving, share those too. Let me praise and give thanks with you. Let me rejoice in your victories and your blessings with you 🙂 I assure you that letting me partner with you in your prayers for yourself will give me great pleasure.
You may not believe in God or prayer. But, I do. And you don’t need to believe for me to still pray for you. So if it’s okay with you, I’d still like to pray for you as well.
I also ask that if you have cute animal/baby videos, tag me in those too. Send me sick choreo videos. Send me memes and buzzfeed quizzes. I may not always respond, but I’ll watch them and read them and take them when I need a break from work or from crying or from thinking. I promise you that I appreciate those. Give me normalcy to return to when I’m ready.
I also ask that you don’t ask me how my grandpa is doing.
I know you mean well but we’ve already made the decision that when the time comes, we need to let him go. He is dying. In fact, with all his brain damage now, he is more dead than he is alive. He needs machines to breathe, he needs medications pumped into him to regulate his blood pressure. It is a painful reality but it is still that – reality.
That is not going to change. He is not going to stop dying. He is not going to get better. And if you ask me how he’s doing, you are jamming knives into my heart and spirit.
And if any of you wanted to reach out but were afraid to because I said I don’t want to talk to anyone, please do reach out. I have been replying, albeit, mostly in heart emojis, in the in-between moments when I feel up to it. Me wanting space and me not wanting to talk is simply me not wanting to carry active conversation or to answer prying questions (or even questions of “Are you okay?” or “How is he?”).
As much as I want to be alone, I also need you to remind me that I’m not, that I’m not shouldering this on my own.
Lastly, I have specific prayer requests.
Pray for my grandmother. Pray for the lonely nights that await her. Pray for her health and strength. My heart aches when I think about the changes she must face.
Pray for my mother. Much like me, she is carrying a lot of heavy guilt. She is fighting questions of why didn’t she do this and that.
Pray for my brother. In many ways, I think he is the one hurting most. As many, if not all, of you know, he stopped going to church a few years ago. He has good friends and his gf, but he lacks the community of brothers and sisters that I have been blessed to have. I am afraid of the aftermath of all of this for him.