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Topic: The hardest thing so far  (Read 2764 times)

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The hardest thing so far
« on: March 14, 2005, 10:40:37 AM »
Well I'm coming up on nearly one year in the UK -- it will be on March 28th. But this weekend/week is really the hardest so far:  my grandma died Saturday night in Kansas (she died peacefully after a very short illness & was 104). After lots of agonizing & tears yesterday, I decided not to return for her funeral on Wednesday morning -- which is coming up very soon, travel at this time will be very expensive, we have literally just moved house & everything is spread out everywhere, roofers and furniture deliveries are coming this week, etc. DH said I could go if I decided to, but I just don't feel that I can or should in consideration of my responsibilities here at home. It was a really tough decision to make because my grandma helped my mom in raising me after my dad died when I was only 9 years old. The worst is that I can't be there for my mom, who has dementia & may be confused, but both of my brothers will be there. Also, I was just there in November/December. My family are all spread out in Kansas, Maryland, Georgia, and Florida -- and when I go back, I try to fit all of those destinations into a two week span so I can see everyone, which takes an enormous amount of planning & coordination, is expensive & exhausting.

So this is definitely the worst time for me so far...  :\\\'(  I'm usually always lonesome for my old friends, in need of new ones over here, & I'm struggling with the job search, but I've been coping with all that alright, I guess.

It's been a year with so many highs & lows...DH & I are very happy together, we had a lovely wedding day last August & have taken some great holidays together (to the USA, Amsterdam, Antwerp & around Spain), just bought our house - a first for both of us. Just wish the rest of my new life would start falling into place, and Grandma was really special to me.

But I know she's not there any more & goodness knows - she waited more than 31 years to be reunited with her beloved husband in the grave. She was always wondering why it wasn't 'her turn' yet & survived in the past 4 years, despite her advanced age, pulmonary heart failure, pneumonia twice, a broken pelvis, etc. She lived by herself in her own home until she was 101 -- when I had to put her in a nursing home 'cause my mom (grandma's daughter) was already in the nursing home, leaving no one left to look after grandma. I'm glad that grandma finally made it to where she wanted to be for a long, long time & there's loads of folks on the other side who I'm sure have been waiting for her -- everyone she ever knew as she outlived all of them! (if you believe in such things) She outlived her husband, all of his siblings, all of her own siblings except one (she was the oldest of 8 or 9 children), two of her own children, all of her friends, on & on. Born in 1900, as a young girl, she drove horses behind a plow on her dad's Kansas farm, saw one of the first airplanes land in a Kansas wheatfield, helped raise her brothers & sisters, got courted by my granddad, her childhood sweetheart, in a horse & buggy, eventually learned to drive in a Model T, raised her family during the Great Depression, sent brothers & son off to Europe and the Phillippines in WWII, saw a man land on the moon, took her own first airplane ride at the age of 92, and everything else in between. And the great stories! Someone once asked her if she wouldn't like to have an old washboard to keep as an antique -- she nearly laughed herself off her chair & said she was never so happy as the day she got to throw the damn old washboard away because she finally had an automatic washing machine & didn't care if she ever saw another washboard in her entire life! She was truly amazing. Still, my world feels a little less cheerful without her in it.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in...

- from Anthem, by Leonard Cohen (b 1934)


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Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2005, 10:52:38 AM »
My condolences on your loss Carolyn.  Your grandma sounds like an incredible woman!  And I believe that no matter where you are, she knows you are grieving the fact that she's gone.   :(
Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its doors as early in the spring. Cultivate property like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts…


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Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2005, 02:33:44 PM »
Thank you, Kristi.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in...

- from Anthem, by Leonard Cohen (b 1934)


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Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2005, 02:10:20 AM »
carolyn, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. :( I recently lost a well-loved great aunt, she was 100 years old and also died after a very short illness. I couldn't be at the funeral either for different reasons, but I feel for you as it is such a heartbreaking thing. Hugs to you.
I'm done moving. Unrepatriated back to the UK, here for good!

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Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2005, 02:35:24 AM »
Carolyn, I'm very sorry about your grandma.  Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories and stories about her.  I know how difficult it is to be away during times like these; I lost both my grandfather (who raised me) and my father in less than two years.  These decisions are very difficult make.

Your grandmother was a very sensible woman.     If anybody knows about what needs to be done in life, it was her.  She will have been very proud of you and the happy life that you have made for yourself.

"Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in strangers' gardens." -
Douglas Jerrold


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Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2005, 02:54:37 AM »
My condolences a  swell carolyn..  you are a great testament  to her life.. and  when w e talk  about people  and  re live  events.. it is almost like w e are  spending time  with them..  being here  .. i find  myself telling DH  all kinds  of stories  about my family..  i know  how comforting it can be..nonetheless.. it's not the same..  hugs!!
"Courage is the power to let go of the familiar." - Raymond Lindquist


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Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2005, 09:40:56 AM »
Thank you, everyone, for your support & kind sentiments.  It has been a rough week since I couldn't go to Grandma's funeral.  The girlfriend that I grew up with back home in Kansas attended the funeral & e-mailed me & said it was a nice service.  She said the pastor talked about some nice things with Grandma -- like when during the Great Depression, she & Granddad & their children lived not far from the railroad tracks -- the hobos used to come to the door asking for food & she would give them something to eat.  (I imagine they marked the house in some way as being sympathetic -- as I've heard this was a custom, but I have no idea for certain.)  Well everyone back then (or most folks) were poor & struggling, so it wasn't as much a stretch to think of helping each other out so effortlessly.  Sometimes I wonder if we've really 'progressed' all that much?  I don't know what else to say -- it was just really tough not being able to be there.  Thanks again everyone.
Carolyn B
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in...

- from Anthem, by Leonard Cohen (b 1934)


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Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2005, 01:01:39 PM »
like when during the Great Depression, she & Granddad & their children lived not far from the railroad tracks -- the hobos used to come to the door asking for food & she would give them something to eat.  (I imagine they marked the house in some way as being sympathetic -- as I've heard this was a custom, but I have no idea for certain.)  Well everyone back then (or most folks) were poor & struggling, so it wasn't as much a stretch to think of helping each other out so effortlessly.

That's a really beautiful story. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman. I'm so sorry for your loss.

- Helen xxxx
My Project 365 photo blog: Snaps!


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Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2005, 02:42:57 PM »
Thanks for your support, Helen.

Today, I thought of/recalled this poem by Philip Larkin (rather atypical Larkin, btw):

http://www.poetryconnection.net/poets/Philip_Larkin/4811

(The last bit really sticks with me.)

And in recalling it -- of course I got the lines brain-crossed with one of his signature, also brilliant (more typical) works:

http://martinamis.albion.edu/audio/larkin2.ra

So many memorable lines in that one!

Carolyn B

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in...

- from Anthem, by Leonard Cohen (b 1934)


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Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2005, 05:17:58 PM »
Lovely hedgehog poem. Couldn't get the other one to play, though. Sorry!
My Project 365 photo blog: Snaps!


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Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2005, 10:16:01 PM »
Yeah -- I pasted the wrong bit of the link...

http://martinamis.albion.edu/larkina.htm
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in...

- from Anthem, by Leonard Cohen (b 1934)


Re: The hardest thing so far
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2005, 09:20:40 PM »
I'm so sorry for your loss, Carolyn...and I wanted to echo that you've celebrated your Grandmother's amazing life through sharing a little bit about her with us! What a loving tribute!

This is has been a year of loss for my family, too - and I well know the agonizing that goes into decision making. The only right thing to do is what is right for you, please remember that!

All the very best to you and your family- if you ever need to talk, please feel free to pm me!
x Jen


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