for Pat Adair, and the people who love her...

Our beloved Pat got some shocking news recently, and we're off and running on a mysterious medical adventure. Not an adventure we would have picked, but we're off just the same... (If you're new to the blog, start here.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

‘Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.’

This post is from Brooke, Mike and Mary's 15 year-old daugher. She's been with Mom for most of the last two days. (She's on the left in the photo.)


Brooke: While my father and my sister were out getting us food since all we’ve really eaten today is bits and pieces and scraps of food, and my uncle was taking his first shower in days, I utilized the scarce alone time I did have with my grandmother. Right as I walked in the room I saw her big blue eyes, and the doctor told me how well she did with being bathed and I walked over to her and she scanned me up and down with those gorgeous shining eyes of her. She gave me the biggest smile I think she physically could. I told her how beautiful she looked, and how amazing she was. I told her how she’s my biggest hero and how she taught me how to really live. I literally poured myself out, every little thing that popped into my head was vocalized. I then told her that I knew she loved to read so I grabbed a Tuesday With Morrie copy, which belongs to the Bruns House and read her some excerpts that I had dog-eared because they reminded me so much of Grandma, who she is, and the situation at hand. I told her I knew how she was an avid reader and would appreciate what I was about to read to her. She looked at me and gave me a look only she could give, reassuring me I was very right about that, and I felt my heart leap at how clearly I could read all the faces and eyes she was giving me. I read to her a paragraph about how people don’t appreciate life as much as they should, and how death seems to truly put our lives into perspective and as I read this passage she truly comprehended it and just looked at me like she knew exactly what I was saying.

“‘Because’ Morrie continued, ‘most of us all walk around as if we’re sleepwalking. We really don’t experience the world fully because we’re half-asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do.’
And facing death changes all that?
‘Oh yes, you strip away all that stuff and you focus on the essentials, when you realize you are going to die you see everything much differently.’ He sighed. ‘Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.’”

And then I explained to Grandma how this reminded me so much of her, that she taught me to appreciate the little things and that’s why I love her. I told her I appreciated standing there right with her and holding her hand, I appreciated kissing her cheek and stroking her beautiful gray hair. I appreciated her blue eyes and the sound of her rhythmic breathing. I’d never seen Grandma so responsive these past two days, and especially towards me. The closest I’d gotten to this was her saying she loved me too and squeezing my hand. To be completely honest, I was terrified that I’d never have a real chance to say goodbye, that my frustration and trouble with communicating how much I loved someone in front of others would get in the way of telling her how much I love her. That my shyness towards letting my guard down, even with the ones who know me best, would forever give me a shadow hanging over my head, a black cloud of rain, constantly reminding me and scolding me for never breaking down that wall and opening up because having my grandmother pass never knowing the huge amount of love I shared for her existed. I can’t explain the relief that completely washed over me after I had spilled myself onto my grandma’s peaceful spirit and presence.

This moment has a 999 in 1000 chance of being the most beautiful, inspirational, healing, incredible, love-filled moment in my life. It truly felt like it was out of a movie, her lying there, soaking in everything I’m saying like a gorgeous sponge. I can’t explain to anyone truly what a sparkling moment that was, and I think the fact that it was perfectly just between us two girls, Grandmother and Granddaughter that it was so wonderful. We felt our connection spark and we bonded on such a level only two people could when one was on their deathbed. I’ve never fully grasped a death of a loved member, nor have I have found it so beautiful in the strangest way. I know I will take so much from this experience and this moment, probably finding another aspect to take away everyday. I know I will begin to fully dedicate every new characteristic I obtain to Grandma, without whom I don’t know who I’d be.



At June 27, 2008 3:12 PM , Anonymous Whitney said...

Brooke, this is a stunning entry, so honest and beautifully expressed. I especially appreciate your anxiety about never having the chance to express your feelings-- "a shadow hanging over my head, a black cloud of rain, constantly reminding me and scolding me for never breaking down that wall." We've all felt that, or might, and you have reminded us of how rewarding it is to be brave.



At June 27, 2008 7:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know you but feel that I know you.You broke through the personal to the universal by being truly personal.You've given me courage to speak words from that deep down place that translates into all languages.
I'm going to share your words with my 91 mom....thank you.
Teresa Mallen


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