Monday, October 12, 2009

Grief, a rose by any other name?

My Gran and I got into this nasty argument when I was 20 years old over going to the cemetery to visit the her various loved one that were buried there. I was very full of myself and thought I knew it all. I told her "Why do you have to go to the damned cemetery? It's only dead bodies there. Your loved ones aren't there, they are dead." Or some other useless blabbery of shit that comes out of a twenty year old know-it-all. I, at that time, didn't understand grief. My Grandmother, well, she was well versed in grief. She lost her only brother to the war, then her husband to carbon monoxide poisoning( after surviving the war), and then about 6 months later her only son to a tragic hunting accident. Gran was about twenty when this death happened to her and she survived. How I am not sure. But with that being said, I still don't understand going to the cemetery, although I feel guilty about not going, I just feel that I can't go, I don't want to face the grief that is there, the fact that my very beloved grandparents are there, Gertrud is there, underground and they are gone from my life. Never gone from my heart or far from my thoughts, just gone from my life. And it makes me sick with grief. When I think about it I feel this "backup" of snot in the back of my throat like I can't breathe and a heaviness in my heart that I can't shake. It pisses me off.

Why is all this thought of death laying heavy on my mind? Well, for one there is this huge poster board memorial of Gertrud just sitting on the kitchen table. Along with her "little purse" that she kept at work. Tony had to go to the library the other day and they gave him those things. Not sure what they were thinking but it was not a nice thing to do.

The other reason? Well it's my senior seminar topic. Death with dignity, code status or what the hell ever you want to call it, it is a shit topic. But I am half way in and I don't think I can change things now. It brings up the fact that Gran, who wanted so desperately to live was made a DNR because, well, she was dying and I truly believe she was ready at the end but dammit, she wanted to live, pain, shortness of breath and all, she was a toughie to say the least. Then I think about Gertrud and her CT scan with all the blood in her brain and the grim picture the Dr's painted about her recovery, if recovery was possible at all. And the decision Tony and I made from the many open and honest discussions we had with Gertrud, who was adamant that she never wanted to live in a nursing home, or live with any impairments at all. She was scared of losing her independence. She was 70 and still worked full-time, for shit-sake. We made the right decision for her, I know we did, but then people will say, my aunt (uncle, cousin, neighbor) had the same thing happened, they did surgery and they are fine. Well, mostly fine, but they do OK. Why the fuck would you tell anyone who made the decision to let someone die with their wishes in place, with their dignity intact, that someone else lived? That maybe there was hope and maybe we made the wrong choice, by following her decisions. As painful as it Gertrud's death was, I do support the decision that was made, because it was her decision in the end.

As I go back and re-read this blog to ensure my thoughts aren't too scattered and my English, eh, passable, I feel that this thought isn't complete and I am not sure why? I felt like it was complete a minute ago but now, I dunno. But I'm done. My eyes burn, I need to blow my nose and I feel exhausted now.


Lea said...

Angie, i cannot even imagine what you and Tony had to go through to make decision, but what relly sux is that there are ppl out there who are ignorant enuff to make comments that would give you doubt. You guys know in your hearts that you did the right thing by Gertrude, and that's all that matters.

Angie's Lil' Nothings said...

I think people just don't know what to say, so they just run their pie-hole thinking, well, I don't know what they are thinking.