My aunt loves to play Scrabble, so every time I go to Ohio she and I have a standing date to play. Bryan takes the kids so she and I can have a meal and play a few games together. We've been doing this for at least 10 years.
I am grateful for all of those hours and hours of time I was able to spend with her.
Before we left for Ohio, my dad told me that my aunt had been admitted to the hospital. She had a pain in her abdomen and her feet were very swollen. They were conducting all sorts of tests on her, and the results were going to be ready on Wednesday. Towards the end of our drive, about an hour away from my grandma's house, I got the call. My aunt is filled with cancer. It's in her lungs, her liver, her abdomen. She has refused treatment, and the doctors have said she has 2-6 months to live.
Our trip was very different than the one we had planned.
While we did get my grandma's yard all cleaned up for the winter, we didn't play any card games. Instead, the boys did a fabulous job of keeping themselves occupied in the basement at my grandma's house while I helped my grandma and my aunt. She left the hospital on Thursday and moved straight into my grandma's house.
I will forever be grateful that I was back home this particular week. I am so grateful that I was able to be there to see my aunt and help her and my grandma. We didn't get to play Scrabble, but I did get to talk with her. Even in her horribly weakened state, she was able to make us laugh. I was able to help her slowly and carefully walk into the house. I got to help her when she needed to check her blood sugar. I was able to rub her back and get her comfortable when she was feeling like she was going to be sick.
I will forever be grateful for the time I could be there.
Before I went to Ohio, knowing time would be tight when I returned to Indiana, I had started my thankful list. While I'm still thankful for the fact that I can finally sit Indian-style (I've been waiting for 5 months to be able to do that!) and for the time to get our house cleaned and the game cabinet cleaned out, it pales in comparison to the gratefulness I feel in being able to be in Ohio for these days with my grandma and aunt.
We slept at my dad's house for the first time in a long time. He seemed to be very happy to have us there, even getting up early to make a gigantic breakfast for us on Thursday. On Thursday night, the boys and my dad and my stepmom and I played cards at my dad's house until way past bedtime. We laughed and we enjoyed ourselves. I am so grateful for the time spent with them, too.
I absolutely hated to leave Ohio.
While I know they are in capable hands, and my aunt and grandma and all the other relatives understand that I had to leave, I want to be back there so badly. I want to sit with them and listen to their stories of when they were kids. Of when they were teenagers. Of when they were young adults, forging out into their lives away from home. I want to hold my aunt's hand while she sleeps. I want to hold my grandma's hand while she doesn't. Because she can't, worried for her sister.
But I must be home. Not just for my own kids, but because my darling nephews are coming. In fact, they will be here any minute. I'll spend a week caring for them and having fun taking them to various places around Indianapolis.
And I'm grateful for the time with them, too.
This week has just reinforced my belief that we need to quit being too busy for each other. We need to stop working or cleaning or (gasp!) blogging in order to spend time people. It doesn't matter if we are doing big, adventurous things or simply playing a game of cards. We need to spend time with people. Face to face. And we need to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
When looking in the face of an 86 year old woman on her death bed, I am so, so glad I spent those years making the 6 hour drive that made those simple games of Scrabble possible.
Call someone today. Visit someone as soon as you can. Make it happen. You won't regret it.
Have a lovely day!
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I Want Backsies, Mother of Imperfection, Rewritten, Thankful Me, The Wakefield Doctrine
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Family is everythingReplyDelete
As I get older, I realize it more and more.Delete
You are a good niece. Yes you are. This post made me smile. You'll never feel guilty when she passes. You've loved her and she knows that. Excellent.ReplyDelete
Have a blessed weekend. ☺
I will be sad, but I won't feel guilty.Delete
I think I lost my comment...if not feel free to can one.... anyway I was saying that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross brought your idea home with everything she taught people about death and dying and in doing so it pays off so much for both the give or the time and the receiver...ReplyDelete
"Sit with them - you don't even have to talk. You don't have to do anything but really be there with them.”
It really is all you have to do. Such a simple thing brings the most comfort to both people.Delete
auto correct...ugh! Giver of the time and the receiver- is what it should say up there.ReplyDelete
A sobering reminder of what life's all about - Our People. I'm so sorry that your aunt has so much cancer and so little time. What a lovely thing that you were able to spend those precious hours with her and your grandma, and just *be* with them.ReplyDelete
I wish things were different.
I'll keep writing to get it kicked.
It is a shocking situation, since just one week ago, she was at my sister's baby shower completely fine. She drove herself home, for Pete's sake. However, it isn't something I'm going to get mad about. She is 86. She has lived a long, happy life. We all have to die of something, and to die of cancer that she didn't even know she had until the very end is not a bad way to go. It will give her the time to visit with her family before she dies, but it won't be a long, drawn-out illness. I hope to go in a similar way.Delete
I will be sad to not have her here, but she will be happy and back with her dear husband again.
Keep writing for those who die too soon, though.
the grandmother and the children/nephews... your Post today is all Posts. and no matter what people may say about the abstractness of the internet, your post today shows the power of the blogosphere to connect those of like spiritReplyDelete
Oh wow, what a week you had. So sorry to hear about your aunt but I'm glad you got to spend that time with her and your grandma this week. This definitely makes me think about where my priorities have been lately and want to make sure I spend every moment possible with family and friends.ReplyDelete
I am glad that I was able to be there. I hate that I'm away now, but there isn't anything I can do about it. Yes, make sure you do! I'm going to be doubling my efforts to spend time with other family members, too.Delete
I'm so sorry, Christine! But you are right, the time we spend with our families is so precious. I hope you get to have a few more visits with your aunt and grandma; keeping your family in my thoughts in this hard time!ReplyDelete
Thank you. I really would like to have more time with her, but not if it means she will suffer. I'd rather she go quickly and peacefully.Delete
So glad you were able to be there. To be a part of this transition for her. To have the strength those many Scrabble games gave you. To treasure their history. It makes my heart all kinds of gooey. It is a HUGE grateful to have a family with that capability of togetherness.ReplyDelete
AND you get to pay forward all of that time and love into the Nephews. I cannot wait to hear next week's list.
All of those little moments, those seemingly insignificant hours spent with her, most certainly added up over the years. It wasn't the least bit awkward to help her with whatever it was she needed.Delete
AND I get to love on my nephews. The circle just keeps going.
What a beautiful, touching, truthful post. I'm so sorry about your great-aunt's diagnosis, but so glad you were able to be there at just the right time.ReplyDelete
Thank you. God certainly made it happen that I was there. I've never gone back to Ohio in October before.Delete
Sounds like you got it just right this weekend. And it sounds like God put you right where He needed you. I'm so sorry about your Aunt. When it's my time to go, I sure hope I'm loved up by people like you and your family in my last days.ReplyDelete
It really is amazing that I was there on exactly that day. I never go home in October, but everything came together to allow us to go this year. And we went, despite the many other things we could have done. God got us there.Delete
I hope my kids are watching and taking notes on how to care for me in my last days!
WOW - you are so right - your aunt and grandma are in my prayers -ReplyDelete
I'm also praying for you and your great-aunt.ReplyDelete
Oh cancer you bastard.ReplyDelete
I am so glad you got to spend some time there and some of the important time with her. How precious to have those memories.
Cancer is horrible.Delete
Me, too. I would be distraught if I wouldn't have had the chance to see her before she passes.
Oh Christine...I am so sorry about your aunt's news. :( And I agree...we need to spend more face time (and I don't mean the app ;) ) with the people we enjoy. No regrets.ReplyDelete
Thank you. There is nothing like face to face interaction. All those little moments and time spent together make a huge difference. I don't regret anything except not forcing her to sit down and give me her coffee cake recipe. :)Delete
So sorry to read about your aunt, but glad you were able to spend some time with her before her illness gets too far advanced. A shame you didn't get to play Scrabble but you'll have lots of lovely memories to keep with you, even if the most recent ones are tinged with sadness. Prayers here tonight for you, your grandma and especially your aunt - God bless xReplyDelete
Thank you for the prayers. I am thrilled that I was there at just the right time.Delete
Lovely message Christine. I am glad you've taken that drive and played scrabble with her all these years. No regrets! I pray that she remains comfortable for the time she has left.ReplyDelete
Thank you. No regrets, except for not getting the coffee cake recipe. I really like her coffee cake. :)Delete
Thank you for the prayers. Hopefully it will be quick and with very little suffering.
My two great aunts were my grandparents on my mother's side, since her parents died when I was very young. I know just how close of a relationship you can have with a great aunt. I am awestruck that you were back in Ohio at just the right time to help her home from the hospital and into your grandmother's house. I hope you are able to slip away a few times to go back and visit her and write down those stories. How I wish I could have done that with my great aunts! Enjoy your nephews; they will be good for taking your mind off of everything else for a little while.ReplyDelete
p.s. glad you can sit Indian style again :)
it is remarkable that I was home. I never go to Ohio in October. I am looking for ways to get back, but it's not going to happen before November. Cuckoo's first ever special trip is coming up next week, and we most certainly can't miss that.Delete
It's nice having the boys here this week. And it is really helpful that I can sit on the floor. :)
That is sad, sad news, but it can be so satisfying to be in a position to DO something at times like that. I am so glad you had that. A chance to busy your mind and to do something you knew would truly be appreciated. I hope you get to see her again.ReplyDelete
It certainly is sad for me, but I can't be too sad for my aunt. She has lived a long, happy life, and she will finally be with her husband again. I know she has missed him all 22 years that he's been gone. Doing something does help, for sure!Delete
I am just so sad to hear this news. However. How amazing that you were able to be there at that very special time. How wonderful that you have been able to spend precious moments together with these people you love and who love you. I'm so glad that happened for you. Have a wonderful time with your nephews and pass that love on to them!ReplyDelete
I can only attribute our being their to God. Too many things had to fall into place for us to go, and it never happens. I never go to Ohio in October, because there are just too many commitments in that month.Delete
Thank you. It is wonderful to have the boys here.
I'm so sorry to hear about your aunt. That has to be tough. I am very happy that you got to spend that time with her though. I know you will cherish those times and remember it forever. :)ReplyDelete
Thank you. I will most certainly treasure them.Delete
Glad that the trip to Ohio worked out well! Wonderful!ReplyDelete
It worked out as best it could under the circumstances.Delete
Oh, Christine, your post pulled at my heartstrings. My 84 year old uncle is not doing well. I treasure all the memories and hope that he will find peaceful release when he is ready, It is so very sad, no matter how old a person is, to experience that great loss. Have fun with your nephews.ReplyDelete
Christine, I am so sorry about your great-aunt. I know how sad you much be but I hope that spending as much time as you did with her will bring you some comfort. You were good for her and she for you. You have all of those moments to remember. I know you want to be with her but I also know you will enjoy your nephews. You are so right. Being there is all there is. It doesn't matter what you are doing...it's about time spent.ReplyDelete
I'm keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers, Christine.