Grammy: The Top of the List

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Just in case you missed Wes posting this video on facebook, I'm posting it here. We took this the last time we were in Morgantown (in March). She's super cute, isn't she?!

Read my Grammy update (via a facebook note) here. It's crazy how much better she was in March. This decline has been fast. She doesn't talk now -- a few words here and there. I'm so glad I have these videos to remember the good times we have had together!

Edit:: Katy mentioned that it wouldn't let her view the facebook note since she doesn't have a facebook account. Since I don't want that to happen to anyone else, I'm posting the content of the note below. Be warned: it's long. :)

Well, I suppose it's time for a little update about Grammy. I suspect thinking through the events of the past four days will be good for me, even though I doubt I'll be able to put this experience into words very well at all. Blogger is down; I don't remember the last time I wrote a facebook note. Here we go....

On Sunday night Wes's parents called; they'd been in Morgantown and had visited Grammy. They reported that she didn't look good -- had barely opened her eyes and didn't seem to know them. I knew she had been going downhill since we last saw her in March, but to be honest, I just really didn't want to deal with it. I was set to pretty much ignore their report until my stepbrother contacted me & asked me to call his mom. She basically told me that Grammy wasn't doing well and that I probably wanted to come to Morgantown. That made me fear the worst. I thought, "This is it. This is the call. She's dying; we have to go."

So we came. We both worked on Monday, packed our bags at the end of the day, and drove. We got into Charleston at around 11 p.m. and left for Morgantown on Tuesday afternoon. It's now Thursday evening, and we're scheduled to go back to Charleston tomorrow. The only problem is that I don't know if I should stay or go.

Grammy is not doing well. She has been in a kind of "unconscious" state the entire time we've been here. She doesn't open her eyes, and she doesn't really talk. She eats very little, too, which is not a good sign. I am still not quite sure that she knows that I'm here. I keep trying to get her to say my name, but she won't. It's strange, since she has said "John Wesley," but she won't say Beth. Interestingly enough, today Pastor Goodin stopped by to see us for a few minutes, and apparently while we were outside Grammy said my name several times. When we came back in, a nurse said, "Are you Beth? She was saying your name as I fed her dinner." I literally ran down the hall to her room, so excited that she was "with it" and knew that I was there with her. But I couldn't get her to say my name for anything! She didn't indicate that she knew we were there at all. So it's been hard to grasp what she really knows.

Here's another funny/interesting story. My uncle Jody, who lives in Virginia, came in for a few days to see her. Yesterday he made a comment to her about going to Dairy Queen and getting her a blizzard. She didn't respond (as usual), and he never went & got the ice cream. Wes and I made dinner plans with friends tonight, and before we left I said, "Ok, Grammy, John Wesley and I are going to eat some dinner now, but I was thinking that afterward we could bring you some ice cream. Would you like that?" And she said, clear as day, "Well, someone else said they were going to bring me ice cream, and they never did." We were shocked! It was seriously the most complete sentence she's said the entire time we've been here. After I recovered, I laughed and said, "You're right; Jody mentioned that he was going to bring you Dairy Queen, but I think he forgot. We won't forget. We'll be back with some ice cream; I promise." Then I added, "We love you very much; do you know that? Do you know my name?" And of course she wouldn't answer me. So we really don't know what she hears, understands, and remembers at this point, but her affection for ice cream certainly won out tonight. :)

Basically our days here have been filled with me laying beside her on the nursing home bed, holding her hand, stroking her hair, and telling her I love her. And then Wes holding my hand, stroking my hair, and telling me that he loves me as I lay beside her and sob. Sometimes I think I can't cry anymore (like right now, which is good for the purposes of attempting coherent thought); sometimes I think I'll never stop crying. I have never loved anyone like this before. This woman raised me. She has been my biggest cheerleader my entire life. She has always loved me and wanted what's best for me, and she has never abandoned me. And I think that's what's made this so hard -- I don't want to abandon her. Especially not now.

Someone recently made the comment, "You're lucky you don't have to see her like this every day." I disagree. I am NOT lucky. My distance from her is the worst part about this situation. I want to be here every day. I want to lay beside her and tell her I love her. I weep at the thought of her being alone. I want to be there to give her a drink of water when she coughs, to change her shirt because she's running a fever & sweating, to squeeze her hand and whisper good memories in her ear in hopes that she can hear me and be happy. I don't want to be away from her.

And herein lies the worst part of all of this: I don't know how much longer she has. I don't know if she has days, weeks, or months. How do I leave her? But if she does have more than a few days or weeks -- how do I stay? I have responsibilities in Louisville. I have a job. I have a church and a home. Wes said tonight, "You don't want to leave tomorrow, and I understand that, but will you want to leave after a week has gone by? What about two weeks? And if you wait for just three more days after that, do you stay for three more days after those are up? You have to make peace with leaving. You are not abandoning her." And I know he's right in my head. But the distance between head and heart is a long & winding road. I just wish I had some semblance of an idea of a timetable. I'm hoping that maybe I can talk to a doctor tomorrow and have a better idea of exactly what we're dealing with. At this point, I know it's bad. I just don't know how bad, if that makes sense.

My boss has been so gracious. He called today (yesterday? the days are kind of a blur) and said I could have whatever I needed. I hate to leave my coworker by herself for much longer, though. And Wes feels the same about Starbucks. We don't want to shirk our responsibilities. But at the same time, if this is the end, nothing is more important. It just goes back to not knowing. I hate not knowing.

It's been strange to go through this experience with a faith that is less than sure. I think it's easy for people to turn to God in times of worry or fear. For me, at least right now, it hasn't been easy. When Professor Stam died recently, I found myself in the bathroom of the funeral home sobbing, praying the only prayer I could muster to God: "I hope he was right about You." He was a man of great faith. He taught it, sang about it, and lived it. He lived and died in the most joyful, faithful way I have ever seen. And I truly hope that every steadfast, sure proclamation of faith Professor Stam rendered was true. I hope he was right about who God is. And I especially hope he's right as I consider my dear Grammy and the beautiful life she's lived -- and how I would be a different person entirely without her.

If you're the praying type, please pray that God would grant me peace and wisdom as I decide in the next 24 hours what I should do -- if I should stay or go. I'm considering even going back to Louisville through Wednesday and then coming back up through the weekend... but if this decline is a slow one, I don't know how I will {physically, emotionally, mentally} sustain that schedule. But for now -- one step at a time. One day at a time.

Speaking of time -- It's my bed time, but I do want to say how grateful I am for having such a strong support system. So many people have offered help & condolences, and countless people have prayed for us -- thank you. I am so blessed. I truly am. And at at the very center of my blessings is my dear Grammy, my confidant, cheerleader, and very best friend. Her life has been a constant source of joy to me, and I want to do everything I can to express to her my admiration, affection, and love for the rest of her days in the land of the living.

I love you, Grammy!


katygirl said... won't let me view it cuz i don't have fb. will you email it to me?

Say something...