February 9, 2013

On Saying When…

28 Days [of] Heart

Day 9

Yesterday, I traveled from Cleveland, Ohio across I-80 to spend the weekend visiting w/ my extended family while recovering from my heart catheterization. The weather deteriorated with each mile traversed. I would describe the conditions as treacherous, but treacherous to me is a walk in the park to others [i.e. my cousin who took the wheel from his Dixie Chick cousin just outside of Cleveland: ha!]

Last evening, we took to the roads again after supper, NOT dinner, supper to go visit with my GREAT Aunt Eleanor. Emphasis on great because she is a treasure-GREAT to me. I haven’t seen her since August, but was well aware that she had declined even prepared that the change in her appearance might shake me a little.

She looked beautiful having just had her hair permed as she sat in her wheelchair asleep with her dinner tray before her. We chatted, but it was evident that she no longer remembers meat least not last night. She was confused asking  the same questions repeatedly [and] was visibly frustrated by her confusion.

Bedtime was soon upon us [and] I asked if she would like me to help her get ready for bed. She was tentative despite the fact that I had assisted with her bedtime routine countless numbers of times in the past, but remember, she couldn’t remember. She was concerned that one of us [or] a staff member would get in trouble if I assisted her.

In an effort to reassure her that it was okay, I went to her nurse [and] asked that she come in to tell my aunt that it would be fine if I got her all ready [and] tucked into bed. The nurse graciously granted my request [and] Aunt Eleanor was free to accept my help.

With her arms outstretched, I gently removed her blouse [and] under armor, then began to help her into her nightgown. I helped her as she transferred from wheelchair to the comode; removed her shoes [and] socks, then placed her comfy cozy socks on her cold as ice feet. Finally, we placed her choppers in the hopper along with the fizz tab [and] her teeth were put to rest for the evening. From there, I wheeled her to the bedside, drew back the covers, [and] helped her transfer to bed making sure she was snug as a bug, nestled in for the night. We closed out the evening with a hand massage, an I love you, and a kiss on her forehead.

My great Aunt Eleanor is 93 years old; she is a breast cancer survivor who underwent radical mastectomy followed by radiation that forever altered her right shoulder girdle much like my left shoulder; she has lived with the late effects of radiation the majority of her life, yet her heart has consistently overflowed with JOY.

She remains JOYful, but she is discouraged [and] frustrated by her confusion; she is ready to cross the threshold of eternity. She is my grandmother’s last remaining sibling [and] she has loved me without fail since my grammy died in 1995. I can NOT tell you how much she means to me, how much I love her, how much the moments of this day with her means to me.

All that to say that I will not be posting to myHeart’s blog likely until I return to Atlanta which may or may not be tomorrow depending on the weather. It is far more important that I give myself fully to these moments with my aunt as I do not know if I will see her again this side of eternity.

myHeart is griefshot, pierced with a grief as I anticipate losing her, but rejoicing that we will meet again [and] oh what a day that will be. Grief is hurts deeply, daily even when it is anticipatory in nature. Grief is a stress; stress unattended to is a risk factor for heart disease.

Please JOY in this day [and] REVEL [in] EVERY MOMENT: I know that’s what I’ll be doing THIS day, everyday.

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