Friday, December 12, 2014

At A Loss For Words

One thing I will never understand is how people deal with family members or friends who pass away. It seems like the hardest thing in the world and I just can't imagine how anybody ever "gets over it".
I understand that people say, "Time will heal." But, does it really? I mean, you still hurt and you still miss that person dearly. Maybe time actually just makes it easier to cope? It can't ever necessarily "get better".
These are just some the types of comments I see on a day to day basis across social media. Whether it is a personal friend's page or a famous person or a murder that may it to the "trending" list. I often wonder, how can people be so rude? But, I don't know that they are. Maybe they just don't know exactly what to say.
I received a call yesterday afternoon from one of our very good friends who lives across the street. People laugh sometimes when I call her my best friend, because she happens to be 45 years older than me. But, she is.
Her and her husband have been the best neighbors we have ever had and we have had them over plenty of times for every picnic, holiday, birthday celebration, boxing matches, just to have a couple drinks, even morning coffee. We talk on the phone, we talk outside whenever we see each other.
My friend, (I am leaving their names out of this post for their own privacy.) called me and said, "Is Brandy there?" Well, that was a bit odd because she knows who I am and she knows I answer my cell phone, so that seemed a bit weird to me. But, I said, "Yes, _____, this is me!" and immediately, the crying started.
I could barely understand her at first, although, I was able to make this much out....."Brandy, _____, died last night."
I was in shock, I didn't know what to say. I kind of just paused for a minute and she just kept crying and all I could think of was, "Oh my God. I am so sorry."
Was that weird? I don't know? She didn't seem to think so. She just started telling me all about how the nursing home that her husband was in had called her a few days prior and asked for her to pack a bag and come in because it was time. (Is that strange? I guess not but I thought it was weird. I don't know how people can just say, "Well, ok, sure! I'll be right there! Thanks for the call!") (I doubt anybody says anything remotely close to that.) It just made me think of how the call might go and how the hospitals and nursing homes must make these calls so often that it possibly "desensitizes" them to it? Maybe not so much as to say they don't care because I know they do. I think maybe in order to do such an extraordinary job like that, they have to remain strong and collected and try to be as calm as can be and somehow, not let it affect their day to day lives.
My friend went on to describe how the last few days went with her husband. He suffered from Alzheimer's Disease and was fighting for quite a few years.
He finally succumbed to this horrific disease, 2 days ago.
I couldn't help but cry and my 11 year old kept staring at me and asking what was going on. I didn't want to interrupt my friend, so, I tried to whisper and point over to her house as best as I could for him to understand. He immediately put his head down and started to ask in a whisper, "Mom, Is ___, ok?"
No, she wasn't. As a matter of fact, she was uncontrollable and a very big mess. She started talking about how her last few hours were with him, how he had gotten "better", out of nowhere and how she asked the nurses if they could go home now because he was miraculously better.
I couldn't help but think about how terribly sad all of this was and I could barely say a word to her. Hearing her suffer in this way was just to much to bare and I was just at a loss for words, I felt helpless, I just couldn't say anything.
But, she just kept talking and she started sounding very ill and I was getting more and more worried. I still don't know if she will be "ok."
It was all very surreal. I mean, I knew at some point it would happen but it wasn't like we expected this at anytime, certainly not around the holidays.
He had been struggling, so was she and the little flashes she got when her husband was the same person she married, they were getting much farther in between.
That's all I could think of to say after hearing her story, but I didn't. I felt it was to early and decided I would make a note of their "blessing" at a later date.
Maybe I am wrong to think that? But, she explained how he was able to talk and eat and smile and laugh, things he hasn't been able to do for more than a blink of an eye for about 2 years. But, he was able to for a couple days, without ANY fleeting moments. Very tragic but at the same time, they reminisced and laughed and talked of their future, while they were both aware that it would be over in moments. (Or maybe not?)
I decided the best thing we could do, as good friends, best friends, would be to do the typical, send over some food, check every so often, give her space and make sure she was moving and using lights, answering her phone, things to let me know she was still coherent.
We are going to his funeral, next Wednesday. After all, my kids thought of him as a grandpa and they think of her as a grandma.
He was their grandpa's friend too.
Since their grandpa passed away, last year (and from the same disease.), this tragedy started some more sad feelings and discussions about life, death, missing our friend and their grandpa and lots and lots of memories.
I think it may be healthy to talk about this sometimes. (The kids bring their grandpa up a lot.) and maybe this is part of the whole idea that "Time will heal"?

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