Tuesday, March 14, 2017

In the Sweet By and By

Hey Mom,

About a year ago, your busted hip set off the chain of events leading to the end of your physical life. It really doesn't seem like that long, but I notice that years seem shorter as each one goes by anyway, the older I get. I'm doing okay, most days lately I would even venture into "great." I haven't updated the blog, I've been too busy with coursework and practice tests. I've written some of the book I mean to finish about my experience so far with grief and if I can find where I saved the chapter outline I might be able to keep going with it. I don't expect to finish that till maybe September, especially now my focus is on keeping my grades in the nineties and doing well with clinicals. I did my first med pass yesterday. After it was over I wished I could share it with you. Such a strange combination of sadness and esteem passes through at moments like that. I wish you knew Mrs. Vickers, she is my instructor for Med-Surg and supervised the med pass. She is a gentle soul who likes words (exopthalmos, vanillin myxomillan) and is truly a deep-cut, b-side nurse-- that is to say her nursing knowledge goes far beyond the popular Top 40 hits. Decades of experience (and teaching,) and curiosity make her an interesting person and stellar nurse but it is her steadiness that I think I like most. In that way she reminds me of you. I suppose I will often, if not always, look for your qualities in other nurses. Last week she asked me to represent the program at a career day and I was so complimented. So, suffice to say that school is going well and it is making all the difference in me getting past this first year without you.

Speaking of grief, Jon's Granny passed away this past Thursday. This event has refreshed thoughts and feelings related to loss and turns my attention toward mourning and loss but also and more importantly the way loss can bring the survivors closer. It reawakens compassion in me: for the bereaved and as an extension, self-compassion. It is a soft place to be, to be gentle with others, to be soft enough to be leaned on. Experiencing another's grieving-- to have the privilege of that-- facilitates knowing them more. Not that any person has a finite end point of who they are, just knowing what they are like in one particular grief and who they are because of their dearly departed. It is such a gift. I suppose it would be a lot trickier to open up to if trauma was what precipitated the loss. Gratefully, not now. I doubt I would see things this way if it weren't for losing you. Maybe.

Not much else is new. I'm still at odds with my hormones but I think I'm on the right regimen for the hot flashes and night sweats. It's kind of neat and I don't really mind it-- I feel a hot flash come on right between my eyes and on the back of my arms, then I want to be naked for the next five minutes, and then I'm fine. My flagging fertility is not going gentle into that good night, and I am okay with that. Can you believe your daughter is at this age?

In that tangent, Patrick is doing great. He picked up the ukelele and developing a sense of style. He was asked to be in a musical and has some upcoming singing solos. He is staying local for college and I couldn't be happier. At this stage of the game I want to keep him as close as I can.

It's snowing like hell out there. In fact, the world at large is chaos and I am grateful that it is not distressing you. You would be thoroughly disgusted if you saw the news on any one of these days. In some dark moments-- just moments-- I am scared for humanity, but I am restored by knowing that God is all; especially in death. And from what I can tell, death lasts a lot longer than a life. That kernel of faith is enough.

And that's enough for now, on that somewhat morose note. The mystery of your closeness juxtaposed by your physical absence continues to fascinate and comfort me, and I'm so grateful to be doing you proud.