Friday, January 30, 2009

Only a few days to say goodbye

I just got the call that my Grandma only has days to live.

I've known she was dying since September. I've had months to prepare as I've watched her go from sitting up in bed cracking jokes, to squeezing my hand and smiling from her pillow as I told her stories about my week, to opening her eyes just long enough to whisper I love you and then fall back to sleep.

Sitting in the hospital with my mom and her mom, who for most of my life have been too busy creating masterpieces of flowers or flours to sit much at all, was a gift. I felt connected, a third link on a beautiful chain of varied coloured gems.

Now her pain is so great and her breathing so irregular that the doctors are planning to sedate her. She may not wake up again on this side of heaven.

It is like the last of the walls sheltering my inner life has been knocked down, exposing me to the harsh wind. My grandparents were all deeply spiritual, fiercely loving (and hopelessly flawed) men and women that surrounded me with prayers, fudgicles, birthday money, and whisker rubs. (My Opa had the whiskers not Grandma!) One by one over the past 12 years I've said goodbye with a final kiss on the cheek and a tear-stained tribute.

My kids weren't here for the first 2 goodbyes and they don't remember the last one. G. was a baby and K. was only 3 when my Opa, my dad's dad passed away. I fear for K., who although his diagnosis lists "delays in nonverbal communication", has a heart language with his Granny that is all their own. He has never flinched or even seemed to notice the way the way she has grown small and faded or the medical tubes that make her one with the hospital bed.

He walks straight to her bedside, smiles and holds her hand and remains there for most of the visit. Because she is still his Granny.

But only for a few more days.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How am I doing?

It's easy to say how I'm doing physically: I have a head cold, I didn't sleep well because the hamster cage fell apart in the middle of the night with a crash, and my cuticles look terrible.

It's not so easy to say I'm doing in life. What do I compare it to? The "Ghost of Sunday School Past" in my head tells me I should compare myself to Jesus. Not helpful. Compared to him I'm a worm.

I had my first day of teaching my new course on Monday. I think it went well. Considering it was my second time teaching. Considering I'm just learning how to use Microsoft Powerpoint. Considering I was very nervous and had a confusing morning of fighting with a printer and fielding calls from the kids' school.

I felt good about it because we got into some great discussions about meaningful issues. There were quite a few students that jumped in with questions and comments. They all seemed interested. But was that because I was interesting-strange or because I was interesting-informative? (They were taking lots of notes but I think some of them may end up in the professor-roasting section of the newsletter....)

My inner "Ghost of Therapists Past" tells me not to compare myself to anyone. I am me and that's all that matters. Still not helpful. There are many "ME"s. Nobody would want the "bath-robed, grouchy, couch potato ME of 10 PM" teaching them Hosea. Or the "giggling, recipe-swapping, parenting-horror-story-telling, out with my girlfriends ME."

"Professor Angeline" is only one part of me. She's like an outfit I put on with my suit jacket. But she's very closely related to "study everything I can about the Bible" Angeline and the "I love these students and want the best for them" Angeline. Those come naturally.

Unfortunately so does playing nervously with my whiteboard marker.