There's this blog I follow where the writer often tells her stories in third person.
I have found this a great way to write something when I am having a hard time putting my feelings into words. I did it a long time ago when I first started my blog. I had locked Tucker and the keys in the car while taking Luke to speech therapy. The whole thing was so emotional I just couldn't figure out a way to write about it ... writing in third person helped.
So after a year, I am finally putting my feelings into words.
She was ironing on one of those rare days when she was alone. Her husband had stayed for the morning to help her out since she had been sick. He had taken the youngest with him and would be picking up another after Kindergarten then heading to the store. It was calm and the only sounds were the steam puffing from the iron and the music from her current playlist.
The phone rang.
The voice shaky on the other end was her mother. Telling her that the time was quickly coming to an end. And this time she knew it was real.
There had been several times previous when her Nana would say that she just did not think she would make it until they got back from vacation, or that she just did not think she would see next week. But this call from her mother, she knew was the real thing.
She immediately went and changed her playlist. To the Christmas lullabies. Lullabies, because the end of her Nana's life here on earth would require the same care and love that is required and given to a newborn. Christmas because she needed the love of Christ to sustain her.
She ironed and wept. She sang and wept. She started a pot of water to boil potatoes and carrots for a pot pie. She could take food to her family. Because that is what she does when she does not know what else to do. She cooks. Surely someone will be hungry.
The next few days were filled with waiting and loving. With arranging. With hugs and more love. There were visits with cousins and siblings. Late night hand holding and singing around her Nana's bedside. Laughter and tears. It reminded her so much of the process of coming into this world. The waiting not knowing exactly when it would happen. The jumping at the phone calls thinking surely this was it. The watching and listening intently while thinking, "Is this it?" Nope false alarm." Everyone there to support and sustain one another. The waiting for the last breath. Just like waiting for the first breath. You just don't know when it will be. So you wait.
She felt like time needed to stop. That everyone else's needs should be put on hold. She wanted to spend every moment at her Nana's house with the family. But really, it was probably everyone's needs that kept her going. She had kids to take to school, and pick up from school. Naps needed to be taken, laundry still needed to be done. Homework still needed supervising.
She had a big project that she was helping with for her kids school. She had to fold 600 or so red papers to make fortune tellers for the schools red ribbon week. She felt overwhelmed at all that was in front of her. She did not know who she could pass it off to. She took them with her one evening after the kids were in bed to her Nana's house. Cousins, and sisters, a house full of people. Children of cousins, friends. They all sat around and helped fold. Everyone having their own technique. It gave them all something to do. Something else to focus on for a moment. Their hands were busy. And it allowed them to talk. She felt close with these people who were her family. Everyone was a little more gentle. She took note of her families eyes and the love that was inside.
There were many funny moments she shared, and some that broke her heart. She walked around the house that she had known as her grandparents home for all of her life. She took in the sights. She really looked. She saw generations pass through the home. She realized that with her Nana's passing she would have no living grandparents. That the oldest then would be her mom and uncle.
She recorded the sounds of the home. The yellow rotary phone. The shushing sound of the door going into the garage. The click and creek of the front door opening and the reverse creek and clank of it shutting. The rattle of the mail drop.
It was such a fast and slow few days. The waiting, the hurrying. The slowing down. The sitting. She felt overwhelmed every time it was time to leave the house. She did not want to leave her mothers side. Watching her own mother mourn and feeling her own pain was difficult. But she was a mother too and needed to tuck her littles in for the night.
She knew that this time as she left was probably it. She left her sisters and her mom and uncle and said goodnight to her Nana and goodbye.
She did not remember crying or what she felt exactly when she got the call in the middle of the night. She does remember the gentleness of the voice that called, and then being startled that they were laughing about something in the background. She felt a little left out, like she had missed something. Missed the event, and missed out on what was funny. But she was where she was needed most at that moment. And she would continually shift and adjust to take her place where she was needed most over the next few days.
The night before the funeral she, along with three dear friends made sure that Nana looked just right. They dressed her Nana, smoothed her hair. They made sure she had lipstick on. Nana looked beautiful. Just like the photos of when her Nana was young and a newlywed. She felt comfortable and glad to take care of this last earthly thing for her Nana.
Once again she was reminded how much birth and death are connected. As we prepare for one to enter this life we do the same as they leave this earth. Gently, lovingly, tenderly.