What's Mine Is Yours

Monday, September 19, 2005

I'm Getting Older, Too.

We went to visit our alma mater this weekend, for beer and football and tailgating and sportsmanship.

It was nice; my parents met us there and we introduced them to friends and ate their food and I tried, for no other reason than fun, to make my mother think (mistakenly) that I am pregnant (i.e., not drinking, taking it easy, frequently tired, crabby and, when she asked point-blank, not on birth control).

Post-tailgate, my mother grabbed my cell phone and announced, apropos nothing, that she was going to call my grandmother, just to check in.
She entered in the number, waited, and hilarity ensued as we realized that she had forgotten to hit send.

She waited.

My aunt, her twin sister, answered the phone.

My grandmother and my mom's sister live an hour apart.

My twin sister had been trying to get in touch with my mother all day; it turned out that I had a collection of voicemails on my phone from various family members.

My grandmother had had a heart attack.

She'd been airlifted from our podunk hometown to bigger town.

She was in an ICU unit.

Blah, blah, fucking blah.

My parents went home, telling me not to worry, to go back to the hotel, to hit up college bars. I curled up in the hotel room bed, phone under my pillow, in tears.

My phone was silent. No calls, no text messages, no IMs.

Nothing.

I wanted news; any news, good, bad, nothing, anything.

The next morning, we drove home, not knowing which direction we were best advised to go in.

We went south when I really wanted to go east. We went to sleep when I really wanted to stay awake. We did nothing when I really, really wanted to do something.

Anything.

I do nothing. That's my role as far away, daughter who grew up and moved on. It's moments like these when I wish that I hadn't. But I've always kept my family close in my heart and they've never been closer than they are right now.

I could go home.

I could be there in three and a half hours.

But somehow I think, by heeding my parents words -- she's out of ICU, she's doing better -- that I'm making it better.

I'm making it less important.

I'm making it a smaller bump.

I'm making it mean less. And I want it to mean nothing, I want it to be a blip, a tiny malfunction on the satellite screen of my grandmother's life. I don't want this to be the end.

And by staying here and acting normally, somehow, I feel like I'm making a difference.

But deep down inside, I know that I'm not.

3 Comments:

At 11:27 AM, Blogger ben said...

I know you're not asking, but I'd say ignore your parents. If you feel like you need to see your grandmother, go. It's important for you. When my dad had his heart attack, my wife wasn't able to get to the hospital due to logistical complications (the kids), and it really made the whole situation worse for her. She was able to get there the next day, and he ended up being fine, but not being able to be there was awful. So, go. Having another visitor won't negatively affect your grandmother (unless the doctors have said differently, of course). It'll make a world of difference for you.

On a side note, did I read this correctly: both you and your mother have twin sisters? Or, should 'my twin sister' have been 'her twin sister'?

 
At 7:11 AM, Blogger ben said...

on re-reading the entry and discussing with gary, I've realized that, obviously, you were talking about your aunt. so, ignore my question.

 
At 6:56 AM, Blogger Patricia said...

A few years back my dad was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. I offered on several occasions to fly down to be with him but he refused every time. Not knowing what to do, I stayed home and just called him as often as I could. I had people telling me to ignore his request and just go which just added to the guilt, but in the end, I opted to respect his wishes.

I think in his mind, me taking time off to go be with him made everything real and much more serious than he wanted it to be. He's better now, but I still don't know if I made the right decision.

 

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