The last 4 months have been hell. I can't deny that there have been good moments because there have, many of them in fact. But I can't honestly look back at the last few months and feel all that much joy or happiness. It all started simply enough with my back going out. An event that has happened before and though painful, has never really slowed me down for more than a couple days.
This time it did.
Thus followed 6 weeks of chiropractic care, massage and physical therapy, and basically being restricted from doing anything more physical then walking back and forth between my car and house (or doctors, etc) because seriously even sitting upright for more than 30 minutes at a time made me lose the feeling in my feet and hands. Eventually I was finally given the clear to resume my normal activities, though there was firm insistence that I make some adjustment for when or how long I worked each day. And then I got sick. For more than a couple weeks I had migraines, fevers, congestion and more icky-ness to help make my daily life miserable.
The holidays came and went. I was still sick - some days more than others.
Then word came down from my parents and aunt that my grandmother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago, was doing increasingly poorly and they (as well as her doctors and other health care aides) believed that she would soon be passing away. Within a matter of days the family was asked to ensure that someone was with her as much as possible. Because I was still sick more often then not, I couldn't be at the hospital all the time so I was relegated to other tasks in preparation for her funeral and memorial.
After collecting nearly 1000 photos ranging over almost 90 years of life, it was my duty and privilege to put together a memorial video that would eventually be distributed to all the family and those family friends who requested one. 60+ hours of work went into the video, and while I was happy to be able to make it and to see all kinds of pictures of my grandmother (and other family members) in youth, every moment was heartbreaking. Because to finish the video, to finally put an end on it, meant that she was gone.
Every morning we would call for an update on how she was doing. Every night we'd check in to see how the day had been. There were some good days but there a lot of bad one too. It got so that every time the phone rang you both hoped and dreaded that the end had come. When the phone rang one night while my husband and I were watching TV after getting the kids all off to bed for the night, where happy (sad?) to see that it was a call from the 'other side' of the family. So you can imagine our surprise when his mom informed us that his aunt had passed away very suddenly less than an hour earlier. Blindsided by the news we numbly sat side by side and sort of, but not really, finished watching our show. Then we spent a sleepless night trying to figure out how and when to tell our children of this unexpected loss.
Receiving the call from my own parents before seven a.m. the very next morning, that my grandma had (finally) passed away was another blow. And while this we had quite obviously been expecting, combined with our family loss it became a far heavier load than we'd thought we would be carrying.
The next several days passed in a blurring rush - informing the kids, calling family, finalizing funeral arrangements, finishing the video, writing a memorial speech with my sisters last minute, and simply getting from one point to the next, and the next. The family viewings were on the same evening. The funerals occurred on the same day: one in the morning and then one in the afternoon. Family dinners. Meetings.
It's been a couple of weeks now and life is slowly returning to normal. I've even been writing every day this week, a bit each day on a few different projects. So, I guess we'll see what we see.
In the mean time... Happy writing.