Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Rough Month

It has been yet another rough month so far. My grandfather passed away three days after my last post. I am glad he didn't suffer for an extended period of time, but it is still difficult to lose someone you love and it's a little hard to wrap your head around when it happens quickly. I had more of a part to play in the days afterwards than I've had in the aftermath of the deaths of other friends and family, and I have to say it is a whole new experience to have to take part in tying up the loose ends of someone's life and the arrangements that have to be made to finalize (for lack of a better word) their time on Earth instead of having to contend solely with thoughts and grief. Specifically, I was put in charge of proof reading the obituary, doing the "write up" for the church bulletin to be used at his funeral, reading a passage from the Bible at the funeral, helping to fill out the necessary financial paperwork for my grandmother, and writing the note of thanks to go in the newspaper. It was difficult, it was stressful, and it also gave me something to focus on to get through this time and feel useful.

I spent the weekend in St. John's apartment hunting again. I called/emailed about upwards of thirty apartments and ended up viewing only six. Of those six, two were what I would consider "dives," three were decent, and one was absolutely gorgeous. Although my heart was set on the "gorgeous" spot, I decided on one of the "decent" places (which was cheaper and therefore more practical), and the landlady said she would get back to me in a couple of days. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping it pans out...

Of course, I still don't have a job either which is becoming somewhat frustrating. I am, however, lucky enough to have awesome parents who (although it is incredibly embarrassing to have to ask for at this age) are willing to back me up until I can stand on my own two feet again. There are those who are of the opinion that it is stupid of me to look for a place to live before I have a job to pay for it, but I happen to think that once I am in town things will fall into place. I will have more time to look for employment and I will be in there already when it comes time to start...and as an added bonus I will have my own space once more and feel somewhat like an adult again. Besides, according to everyone I've talked to, apartments are scarce these days and the competition for them is fierce. Hence, wouldn't it make sense to focus my efforts there for the time being to make sure I have a place to live before everything is scooped up by the new group of students moving in for the fall semseter at MUN?

Anyway, I will stop babbling and trying to rationalize. I have a touch of cabin fever again today and it is only Monday yet so that is not a good sign...but the wind in the trees and the fresh air coming through my bedroom window sure are nice...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Perceptions and Time the smaller picture, the job and apartment hunting continue. I have to say, it feels rather a daunting task some days...and wow has rent ever gone up in St. John's in the past 5 years! I am trying to stay optimistic and am hoping to have something by July, so wish me luck!

In the bigger picture resides other, more serious and saddening, news: mortality has once again come knocking on my family's door. I know everyone has to go at some point, so to speak, and we all have to experience our times of difficulty as those left behind, but it never makes it any easier to face, does it? A dear friend of mine recently lost his uncle and my heart ached for him as he is away from home...I know how that feels, having gone through it myself a couple of years ago. However, little did I know I would be preparing for the same thing myself again so soon afterwards...

My stepfather's father - my last living grandfather (I have been blessed enough to have enjoyed three sets of living grandparents plus a couple of great-grandmothers in my life) - got sick shortly after I moved home. When his wife was finally able to convince him to go to the doctor (he is a very cranky, stubborn - yet lovable - old man), they were told it was pneumonia and he was prescribed medication for it. After three sets of antibiotics, things still were not improving much, and so he underwent more testing during a hospital stay to receive further treatment for his illness. A couple of weeks ago, we were told that he actually has cancer in both lungs. It was my understanding through conversations with family that the doctors predicted that he would have a few months to live, at the very least. That assessment has been changing rather rapidly and was shortened to weeks, and now appears to be most likely a matter of only days.

Given that my grandfather was a heavy smoker (for somewhere in the neighbourhood of 60 years) and a diabetic (and never ever really took care of himself or altered his diet much), it didn't really come as a surprise that one day it would catch up with him. He himself took the news with a nonchalant, "well at least I got 77 years out of it," and I think he lived those 77 years the way he wanted to and enjoyed them. Which is kind of good, despite the not so good decisions he made for his health...but it didn't make it any easier to watch him go from a robust, crotchety, teasing, lively sort of man who wouldn't slow down or give in, to the man I saw before me when I visited his bedside yesterday evening inside a couple of weeks..or to see the toll it is taking on his wife of 51 years and their children - including my stepfather...and it doesn't make it any easier to realize that - very soon - we will all be saying goodbye...a fact which is only now starting to hit me as I am writing this. Odd how seeing it written in my own words on the screen makes it more real, somehow.

It's also strange how time plays such a huge role in our lives. Hours, days, weeks, months...they take on a whole new perspective and a whole new relevance depending on the matter at hand. A length of time can seem interminable or impossibly brief in relation to the events and emotions being experienced. Funny how that works.

I am glad that I am home right now - both to offer support and to be supported, but also so that I was able to spend some last moments with my grandfather while he was still his regular old self.

It's funny how when things unfold you can look back and see that they all fell into place a certain way for a reason and they start to make more sense. Not to say that I am only here because this was going to happen, but in retrospect, the events of the past year seem to have been part of a grand design - my move home being just a minuscule piece of the puzzle.

And thinking of all of these things makes the turmoil I've been experiencing trying to put my life back together seem so small and insignificant in comparison.

Yes, the imminence of death certainly has a way of putting everything back into perspective...