Friday, August 01, 2008

Sadness by email

My father emailed me. I always tighten up a bit when I see his name in my mailbox. He usually writes when he has something important to tell me and doesn't want to do it by phone because we'll both end up in tears. Even so, I tried to think positively, but the first line was a punch in the gut. My father's father is dying. Three months at most, they say. They found a mass in his lung and he doesn't want to fight it, not at his age. So my father emailed me that he is preparing to go stay with his father, and get him on hospice and care for him until his time comes. He said he's feeling very sad and low on energy--its been a tough year--and begged me to take care, because I'm one of the few people he has to draw on at this time.

How do you respond to that kind of news? What do you tell a man who has dealt with death and dying and illness in his children and siblings now facing the death of his father? I wasn't quite sure how to respond, so I just started writing.

It is ok to be depressed over Granddad. Its been a tough year. Sometimes I feel like shaking my fist at Heaven and saying "Enough is enough!" And other times, I feel like asking "Doesn't Heaven have enough angels yet?" But mostly, I recognize that in life there is only one certainty, and that is death. And while I am not ready to embrace that certainty for myself, Granddad is. And I respect that. And am willing to let him go. I remember how hard it was for Granny and Tammy to go. They wanted to, both of them, they were so tired, but we wanted them to stay. And in that spiritual tug-of-war there is no difference between winning and losing--there is just struggle and resistance. Truth be told I've not got much resistance left. I have learned Acceptance with a capital 'A'. Not acceptance as in resignation, but acceptance as in, this is how Life is, this is my reality, and I can waste my energy fighting Life, or I can accept what it throws at me and fight for what I can change, and for the differences I can make in the world.

I am glad that you can go be with him. Please do. I am sure he wants you there, but most importantly, it is where you want to be. Just know that you don't have to suck it up. Its ok to be sad, its ok to cry. Granddad understands tears now. He's developed an intimacy with them since his stroke, and in some ways tears are sacred and they've anointed him again and again over the years. Love will out, one way or another, and so will joy and sorrow. I love you.

Keep taking good care of yourself. Let me know what I can do for you both. I'll be here.

Even if I said the wrong things, I hope he knows I mean them in the best way. The sad thing is that today is his mother's birthday. Sad news to dispense on a day we remember her by, my tiny grandmother with her fuschia lipstick and silvery crew-cut hair. Miss you, Granny.

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Anonymous sacredtouch said...

Beneath the surface of any dense feeling lies a place where both freedom and peace reside. We would all do well and good to go there when the need arises. To go there, to flow there. Surrender is key.

- SacredTouch

2:31 PM, August 02, 2008  

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