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...

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