I've slacked off on blogging but this really needed to be articulated. Some things have been weighing heavily on my heart to the point of affecting my interpersonal communication and choosing to shut out the world.
5:27pm Mountain Time.... The phone call that result in anguish and relief, simultaneously.
I said some pretty hurtful things to vent-able ears in the past year about how she hurt this family and how my views toward her would lead to apathy upon hearing of her passing. Well, it bit me in the bum as I'm sitting here in confusion, shock, isolation, and all of the other stages of grief. It's almost as if it were the stereotypical tea parties little girls had, except not cute and pink... it's a million shades of dullard grey. I'm pouring an ample amount of tea to each emotion... perhaps offering a bit too much to isolation. Hence, the necessity to find the cathartic composition of a simple post.
In a time where I usually put the brave front for my family, trying to be the solid rock, I can't help but sit in a malaise. Is this normal?
A bit of a back story...
My grandmother Irena was a tough woman. I think I inherited a lot of strength from her, almost to the point of intimidation and scaring potential suitors away...
In her youth, she would go to Ukrainian town parties and bully people. Touch wood, I've never done that. The pen is mightier than the fist or something to that effect. Anyway... she was a single mother by the age of 20 and she certainly had her fair share of father issues. Her son was put up in various foster care and orphanages by her father until my Irena could afford to take care of him. She ended up taking her son, Richard, and moving to Australia.
With nothing to her name and a limited proficiency of the English language (Ukrainian and Polish culture- never forget your roots), she moved in with her sister and brother-in-law to East Maitland. East Maitland is a town of blue collar workers. As of now, it's trying to appease to the younger generation but it is certainly a country bumpkin place, much like Kansas or Oklahoma in the States.
She worked menial jobs here and there just to provide for her sons*. She was married once and that lasted about a year or two... My grandfather, for all intents and purposes, passed away earlier this year.
I don't really know where I was heading with this portion, I guess it was just to give a glimmer of the person that she was. Her struggles in life. The reasons why she was so strong and fought to where she got in life.
That is what killed her.
An avid smoker of 60+ years, trying to quit here and there but with little to no success, Lung Cancer. When I saw her in February, she was adamant about the lung cancer being caused by something else and not the 60+ years of smoking... I get that genetic predisposition may have an effect (think nature and nurture) but c'mon... not that stupid... ***It must be noted that in late 2013-2014, I partook in the cigarette, briefly... have no desire for it... and as a result of my paternal side being chain smokers, swore I would never touch one again***. This isn't the first time she was diagnosed with cancer. In the 70's, she was told she had cervical cancer and had a complete hysterectomy. Bed ridden for months and told that there was still some cancer growth, her life would be cut short. Touch wood, she got to see one of her sons get married, she got to see her grandchildren being born and them growing up.
Her death has put everything in perspective. Don't live life with regrets. Don't forget to say "I Love You" or something of endearment to the people that matter to you most (which at this point- has been my parents, some 10 friends, pets, and brother). Just take what you can from this life because at the end of the day, it's all you can. Some material possessions may make it to the grave with you but everything ends up divvied amongst the living. Make the most memories you can... (Reminds me of the play, "You Can't Take It With You" by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart).
The only regret that I have is that I spend the trip in February being so pissed off at her for the *family history. I could have said more, done more for her, knowing she was a dying woman... (which is reminiscent of John Mayer's song "Say"... Say what you need to say, be present...) But what probably mattered to her most is that we saw each other, one last time.
*family history- my biological grandfather revealed himself. He was actually my grandmother's brother in law... in all honesty, both of her children were sired by both her brother in laws... My late grandfather, for all intents and purposes, one with whom I share a last name, is nothing more than just a placeholder in her marriage timeline. This is what I was most pissed about because family should never do that to each other. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. None of it does. You know why it doesn't matter? because my family and I are here as a result of all of this and we have the power to change the world.
With love and light to the woman with whom I shared a birthday for 26 years.
God speed, Grandma.
I hope you find peace in Heaven and get to be reunited with Uncle Ziggy.
Always and Forever,
Your granddaughter C.