One of the hardest things right now is realizing that it’s not such a bad thing that my Nana was ill for only a wee bit of time. Looking back on pictures from this summer (here July 30th), it’s easy to get mad. “Why did this happen when she was so full of life? Why couldn’t she have lived longer since she was so happy?” Mad is an easy emotion to nuture.
But really, we should be thankful that just two months before she died we were out on the town, and after this she had a wonderful two weeks entertaining family from Ireland. We should be relieved that her life was, up until the very last bit, wonderful and full of joy. And we should realize that part of why it seems like this happened so fast is she refused to let her failing body slow down the amount of joy she could squeeze into living. Makes me think of how she’d squeeze grapefruits to get the juice for breakfast. It was not in her nature to let anything good escape.
My Nana went through a lot when she was visiting us and yet just two days later she was back to enjoying life. She had lost sight in one eye, had a small stroke, had ongoing heart troubles, and a hernia that bothered her. And she never let on that any of these things were getting her down. Recently, she’d been having “dizzy spells” where her heart would stop beating for extended periods of time, which is why she needed the pacemaker. As much as we’d like to believe that she could have been with us longer, the truth is that she was wearing out.
I’m starting to be able to accept that she had squeezed out all the joy she could from life, and that living longer would have only meant increasing discomfort for her. It doesn’t really help me when I’m missing her, but it does help to realize that if there is a time for everything, maybe this was the time to say goodbye. It’s a good philosophy on life, to aim to get as much happiness as we can from every day so that our lives are as rich as possible.
Read the rest of this entry »