Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Thoughts on Auntie E...
This posting started out being a family update but alas, thoughts of my Auntie E fill my mind. The photo you see here is of a recent visit with her. T wanted to read to her from his Dick and Jane book. She loves him so. As she says, "I prayed for him to be born and look at what an amazing guy we got." In fact, she did pray for his conception. Let me tell you, she is definitely dialed in with the Man Upstairs. When she prays, big things happen.
We have been making some trips to a neighboring city, about a 45 minute drive, to visit my aunt E. She has terminal cancer and she is a favorite great aunt of the kids. She loves kids. She was a kindergarten school teacher for decades in Las Vegas before relocating here in Idaho. Deeply religious person, too. Very devout Catholic. It has been hard on her not being able to attend church EVERYDAY! She even had to give up her volunteer work teaching the nuns of her local parish how to read and write English. I know, it's like I'm copying from some piece of literature. She is that caliber of woman. I used to think my Grandma Z, my mom's mom, was the most amazing person. Now I am beginning to see as my aunt and even my own mother is growing older, that these women are quickly becoming like their mother before them. It has been so wonderful having Auntie E (and Uncle E) relatively close so we can visit with them. It has been so tough watching my aunt get frailer and frailer. It has been tough for the kids to understand.
Honestly, this ordeal for my aunt has impacted me in a few ways. First, I have come to think and feel that she has little she needs to learn from her process of dying but rather it is a matter of those of us around her learning and growing from it. I think Auntie has reached that amazing stage of elderhood, as Hubby and refer to it, where she is truly wise and has very little more on this earth to learn but rather has the job of teaching those around them. I think all that has been happening is for the rest of our benefit and growth.
Secondly, I have felt some sympathy for myself with all the toughness this current pregnancy has brought. Oh goodness, I know how blessed I am that all is going good and the baby is healthy. However, vomiting 6-8 times a day, constant nausea, constipation and some other not so fun things that go along with that, headaches, hip pain - I will stop there, has gotten me down a bit. But then I think, at the end of all of this, I get a beautiful baby girl to love and share with the rest of the family. In summary, I get a new life at the end. My aunt, on the other hand, is experiencing pain, itching, jaundice, headaches, swelling, confusion, endless medical procedures - again I will stop there. And at the end of her sufferings, she dies. Considering this, I stop feeling so sad for myself, and keep going and push through whatever ills I have at any particular moment. However, knowing the life she led and the person she is, I have no doubt there are good things in store - likely to be greeted by Grandma Z.
Actually, I had a dream several months ago. I even shared it with Auntie. I do not believe my dreams are prophetic, by any means. If they were, aliens would have invaded Earth years ago. No, the dream goes...
I was at my old home in Nevada visiting with my mom. Actually, there were several of us there - my mom, sis, my own kids, and a few other random folks. We were all sitting around talking and there was a knock at the door. This beautiful woman was at the door and said, "I'm here to take E." I let her in and recognized her as Grandma Z. However, it did not look like a 98 year old white headed woman. This lady was the most beautiful person I had ever seen.Glowingly beautiful. She came in and Auntie E went with her. I immediately told my mom, "We have to go after them. Grandma never learned to drive and they are headed into Vegas. We can't let them go by themselves." I quickly scrambled to see if someone could watch the kids and my mom and I jumped into our tiny old gray Plymouth Horizon and headed down the dirt road from our home. We kept saying, "We are never going to catch them. They left so fast and who knows where they are going." Then I woke up.
I think the dream was my brain's way of saying, "It's time for Auntie to move on past this life." My heart aches because this earth will be without this amazing woman and our family will be without her calming, sweet presence. But I know I will see her again and she has glorious things in store for her.
Never has anyone been so confident in my abilities and such a lifelong cheerleader in the fashion that Auntie has. Even has a tiny child she would make me feel 10 feet tall. Even if her cooking was not the best (talking biscuits that bounce), it always tasted good to me because it was made for me.
I pray each night for her family as they live through this tough time watching their beloved wife, mother, and grandmother suffer through the ending stages of a obscure form of cancer. I pray for my own mom who will be losing her sister. Those two may be bickering old ladies sometimes, but they have always been extremely close and it will be a huge impact and loss for my mother. My kids pray each night for Auntie E that she will have more good days than bad ones. I even pray that I will be strong every time I have one more moment with her on this earth so that I can offer her the words of encouragement and medical expertise she asks of me. Mostly, I am grateful for having had the opportunity to know yet another incredible woman who has made me a better person and gives me a goal to strive for - someone so Christ-like that I can hope to one day be more like her.
We love you, Auntie, and are very grateful for you. Thank you for being you.