Thursday, June 26, 2008

The people we love...

This will probably end up being a long and rambling post with a few tangents. So for that I will apologize in advance.

I wanted to do a little update about my aunt. She is off the ventilator. She is being kept comfortable with pain medication and liquid nutrition. As I mentioned, the CT showed wide spread damage to her brain tissue and the EEG showed slight electrical activity. Injuries that she will not recover from. She was removed from the ventilator yesterday around 11am and has been surviving since. I continue to pray for the best possible outcome, as my friend Maggie put it, and as she also said it may not be medical science that determines that. I agree. I can pray for a miracle. I can ask that of God. Because in my heart that's what I want for her and us. My cousin told my mom today that her CO2 level is gradually rising and that my mom shouldn't come because it doesn't look like her.

I also wanted to tell you a bit about her. My aunt's name is Judy. She is my mom's only sister and 9 years older than my mom. She has three children, and 6 grandchildren and 2 step-grandchildren. She is stubborn like my grandma and very funny. She suffered from depression and rather low self-esteem. Like my grandma she didn't realize how funny she was or how much people liked and enjoyed her. I always enjoyed seeing her and visiting with her and hearing her talk about our family or the things going on in her life. I hadn't seen her for quite awhile. She tended not to come to family things for reasons that we either didn't know or didn't understand. Depression has a way of doing that to people. They isolate themselves. Her relationships with her children were somewhat strained. Except for my youngest cousin, who is my age. They spent a lot of time together. We are finding out now how many people's lives she touched and it seems she didn't know that.

She also loved shoes and crafty things. When I was younger she wore high heels a lot. I thought she was fabulous. She dressed fancy and wore cool shoes and did her hair up. She had long, painted nails. She loved her dog Muggsie and my cousin's dogs too. She would sneak her favorite one treats when she went to see them because she loved him and spoiled him. Like my grandma and me, she did all kinds of crafty things. She carved these intricate leaves out of wood once and made them into magnets. She made neat dolls with sculpted faces once. She loved her children. Even though they irritated her. Just like most mothers!

More than anything I want her to be happy and at peace when she leaves us. I want her to know how much we loved her and enjoyed being with her. I wish she could have known that before this happened. It makes me sad that she may not have.

My grandparents seemed to have set an example for my aunt, uncle and mom of stuffing feelings or ignoring each other when they were upset. I noticed this when I was growing up in my grandparents and with my mom. Because of that I either consciously or unconsciously decided not to be that way. I tend to be emotional or at least more so than the rest of my family. Ironically so is my youngest cousin. Although a bit more so than I. I don't stay mad long, I apologize easily and I don't hold grudges. I also tell people how much I care about them and love them. I did this with my grandparents when I was younger. It was a conscious decision. I can remember thinking that I loved them and I was going to tell them whether then liked it or not or said it back to me. It didn't matter. The amazing thing is that it made a difference. Being raised that way also made an impression on my mom and because of it she was much more affectionate and demonstrative with us than my grandparents, my grandma especially, were with them. Which I'm sure influenced how I turned out. Life is easier when you aren't constantly keeping things inside and using all your energy to hold grudges and be mad. The importance of this has become more clear to me because of what is happening with my aunt.

To me life is simple. Love the people around you and tell them so. And more importantly try to love the people in your life who are hardest to love. Everyone can benefit from some kindness. Sometimes it can make all the difference. I am certainly not a shining example of this on a daily basis but each day I try to do a little better.

I've got to believe that a small part of my aunt Judy knew that people loved and cared for her and enjoyed her. I also have to believe that she is feeling the prayers that we have all been saying for her. It is so hard to not be able to do anything in these situations. To be completely powerless and to only have faith and family & friends to be of comfort.


emily said...

I could cry reading this. I was actually thinking about this very topic today and wrote about it a little on my blog. Your aunt sounds like a neat person to know and you are probably changed by having known her. Sometimes I wish there was a mirror or crystal ball we could show people so they could see how WE see them...all their cool, inpsiring, awesome qualities that they don't see or believe. Sending prayers your way!

Janet said...

What a beautiful and thought-provoking post, Heather. My heart goes out to your entire family.

Shanna said...

Hi Heather! Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog! I just wanted to tell you after peeking in on ya that you should take comfort in knowing that your sweet Aunt is happier than ever. And I'm sure she looks in on you with a grateful and full heart as she knows your outlook on life has you appreciating the things that matter most!

Noelia said...

Oh Heather this touched me so much. I feel that your aunt knew deep inside how much you loved her but unfortunately her depression made things a little foggy. Thanks for writing from the heart and sharing your feelings with us.