The musings of Paj Dawb (Hmong for "White Flower") - I serve the mentally ill/disabled by day, teach piano by night, and spent 6 years worshiping side-by-side with the Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) Hmong community in Alaska. There's nothing average to see here...
Friday, March 20, 2009
Grandma's window is the one on the far left. Yesterday was different. I woke up frequently Wednesday night and had a migraine come yesterday morning. I got to the hospice center a few minutes before Andy was getting out of work. I sent him a text message reminding him to come visit with me and Grandma after work. He's a corrections officer in Herkimer not too far from where Grandma is. I had been getting on him for a few days about coming to visit Grandma. When I arrived at Grandma's bedside things were worse. She was not as communicative as the past few days. She only opened her eyes for seconds at a time. She couldn't really swallow anymore and due to thet was not able to take some medications not yet ordered in liquid form. One was for seizures so she had newly added padding lining the bed rails just in case. Those few inches of plastic covered foam made me feel further away from her somehow. I felt sacred. Ten after four, sure Andy was still nearby, I called and left a message on his cell phone pretty much demanding him to come see Grandma. He came. And he sat, only as close as the couch. Every time Grandma's eyes opened it was a rush to get him within her line of sight before she closed them again. Nobody may understand the connection Andy and I have. I can't say I completely understand it. There's always been this closeness though we've grown up on opposite ends of the nation. Andy was born one day shy of five months after me. Our mothers (sisters) both experienced misscarriages before becoming pregnant with us. We looked like twins when we were younger which inspired me as a child to pretend that he was my brother and simply didn't live nearby. That said, now there has been an unspoken importance for Grandma to see and know we are both here, together. After Andy left I broke down. It was easier for me to not cry while he was there. I had to take a walk to gather myself. On the walk I found a nice pavilion with the plaque you see. Traveling Mercies. That's what hospice nurses and volunteers are. Though Grandma is in a small hospice facility, most people receive hospice care in their homes. There people work to make sure people's last while on Earth is as pain-free and comfortable as possible. Nurse Tabitha has been my favorite. She really has grown close to Grandma. She said goodbye yesterday to Grandma and to me. She has the next three days off and expressed that she doesn't think she'll see "Joany" again. All the emotions... That is where the bench at the end of the path came in handy. That's my new spot to escape to. It's symbolic in a way. It's a bench at the end of a path and I can sit there and wait. I can sit with Grandma at the end of her path... And wait. There's another bench beyond the one I sit at that... I can't go to. There is brush and ground covering in my way. Maybe Grandma's new path is nearly done being cleared. She's getting ready to go sit at another bench to wait for the rest of us.