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December 31, 2012

2012, we did all right

What a year! It is safe to say that this year turned out very different from what I had thought. And I couldn't be happier. In order to not write the Longest Post Ever, I'm just going to recap my goals that I set for 2012.

monthly


1. Do something ridiculously nice for someone. Complete, though the majority of my acts of kindness are centered around my grandparents.

2. Make cards and mail them to people that make my life awesome. Failed. Big time. Sorry, USPS.

3. Try new restaurants. Definitely did this, much to the detriment of my bank account. My new favorites include Tilia, The Bachelor Farmer, Cafe Maude and Blackbird.  

4. Read books. I completely failed to make time to read anything besides blogs and running magazines. Next year...

one time deals


5. Paint something to hang in my apartment. Done.

6. Get a tattoo. Done. (Pictures to come.)

7. Go skydiving. Failed. I still want to, though.

8. Go one week without buying anything. I kind of forgot about this one. Oops.

ongoing

 

9. Expand my vocabulary. I've kicked my cursing habit which was sort of the point to this one anyway. Sometimes I'll throw around big words like obstreperous (but that's typically in reference to Colleen).

10. Simplify, simplify, simplify.  Moving twice totally helped with this. I feel delightfully purged.

11. Travel. India was the big one. Redding and Chicago were fun. Other than that, I was comfortably home in MN.

12. Get stronger, faster and healthier. 2012 has been a year marred by injury (um, hello pulmonary embolisms!) and I never quite found my footing. It became a dream of mine at one point to run a very fast (relative term) marathon but I need to evaluate whether or not it's still one I want to pursue.

So what will 2013 bring? Probably not a list of thirteen goals. 

Last year at this time, I was desperate to get out of a rut that I found myself in. Setting goals helped me look toward the future, one I knew would look different than what I had wanted. To sum it up, 2012 has been a year of release.  There is no more looking back, no more wondering what if.

2013, we're going to have a great time.

December 21, 2012

declining

Yesterday was a day that I've been waiting for for weeks: Grandma's doctor appointment. I knew it would be integral in determining next steps.

On the five minute ride there, she asked three times where we were going. When we got there, she asked five times why we were there, eventually whispering the question to my dad because Grandpa started answering with Ger, please..., a sign that his patience with her was wearing thin. 

When we were called into the exam room, Grandpa stayed behind and my dad and I went. The nurse took Grandma's weight and blood pressure and asked her if she felt safe in her home. Yeah, why wouldn't I? she answered. 

The nurse asked if they were living alone. Yes, was Grandma's quick reply.  I added in the parts she doesn't remember: that my dad and I stop by everyday to lay out clothes for Grandma, empty the waste basket filled with her adult briefs, throw dirty clothes down the chute and make sure she takes the pills that Grandpa has diligently laid out on the kitchen table. I tell the nurse that I come by twice a week to bathe her and do her laundry. Grandma listens but only reacts when I say, No, there's no danger of the stove being left on because I'm the only one that cooks.  She looks at me and says, Well, I make banana bread sometimes.

When the doctor comes in, the scene replays. Grandma tells him things that haven't happened for years. My dad and I shake our heads in the background, and when he meets our eyes, he smiles and nods reassuringly.

When we go over her list of medications, I ask about the expensive one she takes for her dementia, the one that doesn't seem to be doing anything except give Grandpa something to complain about. 

We explain the decline we've seen over the past year and how it's become more rapid. He tells us that the medication is meant to slow the progress of her dementia and that because she is still declining at a noticeable rate, it can be discontinued. The subtext of his statement is there is nothing to do except wait.

My dad stays back to speak with the doctor as I walk Grandma out. When she sees Grandpa in the lobby, she greets him enthusiastically, obviously having forgotten that he was waiting for her there. 

My dad and I walk to the car alone and he tells me what the doctor said: that her long term memory will go eventually and it would be wise to move them out of their home soon. I already know this. What I don't know is how to tell Grandpa. 

I have my chance while Grandma is getting her hair cut. We are sitting in the waiting area. 

When I tell him what the doctor said, about how she'll eventually forget who we are, his eyes fill with tears as he asks, Even me? My heart breaks as I say, Yes, probably you, too. We talk more about the future, what he wants to do.  It's a hard conversation but an honest one.

While the next steps are clear, they will not be easy. I covet your prayers for my family for an abundance of grace, patience and love.
 


December 17, 2012

oh my god*



Friday was an awful day.

It was a shocking reminder of the evil that exists in this world but also the great love. 

My heart broke for the parents that lost their babies. Oh, how my thoughts were not hidden from God! Fist shaking and all.

Praying mercy in grief, peace in sadness, and grace to walk through today.
 

*title from Jars of Clay song, excerpted below

Sometimes I cannot forgive
These days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be

Maybe I could get some sleep
 

While I lay, I dream we're better
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
 

Sometimes I can close my eyes
All the fear that keeps me silent

Falls below my heavy breathing
What makes me so badly bent?
 

We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded 

That the pain is worth the thunder
Sometimes when I lose my grip

I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
 

Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat 

All the wounds that money causes
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children 

This is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers 

This is our greatest offense
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

December 10, 2012

number six

Done.


And I absolutely adore it.


December 7, 2012

finding calcutta

I am supposed to be in India right now. Instead, my step-brother Luke and practically-brother Jonathan are there.

l &  j
My plan to go to India was a big reason why I quit my job and didn't take another one, thinking that I'd be leaving the country for three months in November. 

But then I started spending a lot of time with these joksters and the thought of leaving them broke my heart. So I stayed.

g & g

The other day when I was blow-drying my Grandma's hair- thinking about what the boys were doing over there right now, wondering if I made the right decision- the phrase find your own Calcutta came to mind, the famous line Mother Teresa would tell people when they asked to join her in India.

Minnesota isn't nearly as exotic as India. And walking a fine line between granddaughter and elder caretaker doesn't have the same intrigue as living in a foreign country. But this is my Calcutta.

___________________________

Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. … You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.

Well said, MT. Well said.