July is finally here. I wish July meant crazy things...like watermelon eating contests, Christmas in July sweater parties, and water gun fights. July should be full of warmth and sunshine. And although the summer heat and humidity has set in, warm memories are still absent. July is a cold month for me and I assume the rest of my family. I would imagine we are all struggling in our own ways for so many different reasons.
Tomorrow marks the day we lost a childhood friend and the day my sister lost a love...I remember getting a call from her ridiculously early in the morning the day after he died and her telling me the news. The call came almost at the same time as the call came from my grandpa. It was almost like a catalyst for the worst week of my life.
Yesterday while most people were celebrating America's Birthday....I was thinking about the fact that on the 4th of July last year it was the last time my grandmother discharged home from the hospital. And Monday will mark the day my grandpa called to ask me to please meet them back at St. Anthony's ER because something was wrong with her heart and my grandma wanted me there. It would also be the last time I heard my grandmother's voice prior to the stroke she would suffer the next day. And then the week is a blur...but the pain certainly isn't. I remember the overwhelming heartache in making the decision for us to give up the fight. And I remember painting her nails through tears while she lay lifeless in the bed because bare fingernails were never her thing. (I share her affinity for nail polish...unfortunately grad school doesn't lend extra time for such things these days.) I remember all of us gathered around her hospital bed singing "How Great Thou Art" while she was hanging on for life. I remember counting her respirations for hours...did you know the human body can actually live on 2-3 breaths a minute for over 24 hours? Up until this point in my life, I sure didn't! It's actually still pretty hard to believe that. All of these memories...and absolute heartache. I am dreading the next week because each day brings forth another painful memory. And no amount of distraction will diminish the pain.
Psalms 34: 18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
I tried to distract myself this morning by taking my dog to the Fort DeSoto dog beach.
But once I got there, I realized I was at Fort DeSoto when I got the call my grandmother took her final breath. The nurses had strongly encouraged me to leave the hospital for a few hours because there had been been a small incident when I got in a disagreement with the nurse over not giving my grandma a dose of morphine. The nurse was trying to explain to me that my grandma wasn't taking enough breaths a minute to get more morphine...and I had to politely explain that I was well aware of the number of times she was breathing a minute because I had been counting her breaths for a week (okay, so "politely" might be a little bit of a stretch!). Long story short...they gave her the morphine. I was totally becoming one of "those" family members. And if you are in the medical field, you know exactly what family members I am talking about. It's okay....I'm not afraid to admit it. I was losing it and needed a break. So I did as the nurses encouraged and went to the beach for a few hours with my cousins. And exactly what you don't want to happen, happened. My grandma died while I was there. Thankfully, I was at peace with the entire situation and was just so thankful she was finally not suffering anymore. And looking back, I really hope the nurses don't feel bad about strongly encouraging me to leave. It was the right decision...for everyone at the time. And so while I was trying to distract myself, my grandma went to her heavenly home. The distraction didn't help last year...and the distraction really didn't work today either.
So here's to July. May it pass ever so quickly.
Fingernail polish, Fort DeSoto, and morphine,
PS - As I was finishing up this blog, a song I listened to over and over again the week my grandma died came on Pandora. I have never heard it played on my Pandora station until this moment. Life is relentless sometimes.
Revelation 2: 10
Don't be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.