There’s one definite about being 3 times zones away from your parents…
When there’s a voicemail on your mobile, you can tell by the time-stamp what kind of message they left.
6pm PST — 9pm EST
This was not a social call.
My grandma has been sick for a long time. I can’t write the details. Needless to say, that things are at the point that when they found cancer, it was a better course of action to let nature take it’s course.
I’ve maybe seen her a grand total of ten times in the last ten years. The last time was a year ago around Xmas time. She was not the woman I remember growing up. She wasn’t even the woman I remembered from the last time I visited. The only fragments left of that person were her desperate hope that I would be coming to visit again soon.
She could still remember who I was.
Part of me wished she didn’t.
Another part felt like a traitor…
I left home at 19, young, snarky, and sure of myself.
I left with animosity between my father and I.
I left behind a grandmother who never did anything less but love me unconditionally.
I was the first of the grandkids to find out when my grandpa had cancer. She had asked me to tell my parents, since there was lingering bad blood due to an incident years earlier. For years, there was a chasm between my extended family and my own. All a result of my father’s stubbornness. When I reached high school, I spent every spare moment at my grandma and grandpa’s house. It was the first home I ever had. We had moved around so much growing up and it had been the only constant.
I had missed it.
I watched for over a year as my grandpa got worse and worse. Gradually my dad started mending the bridge he had so callously burned. It was too late. In January of 2004, my grandpa succumbed to cancer. Along with my uncle, I eulogized him at his funeral. It was the single hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. After that, I spiralled out of control…
I started to drink heavily.
I started abusing prescription painkillers.
I started staying out until all hours of the night, sometimes not coming home…never being honest to my parents where I was.
I left home shortly thereafter.
Obviously my substance abuse problem (whether detected or not), made the rift with my dad wider. I put as much distance as I possibly could between us. (Ottawa to Edmonton). Of course, this meant doing the same to the rest of my family. My beloved grandma included.
No one is ever the same after the death of a loved one, my grandma was no exception. Besides the physical struggles that had already begun to manifest, her mental health took a sharp turn. As things got worse over the years, I would see glimpses of time taking her from us. Each time, I would see a glimmer of hope that I wasn’t going to pack my bags and fly across the country again. Each time I would let her down. The last time I saw her was especially hard. I haven’t been there like I was with my grandpa. So here I sit…
…to a wonderful woman who loved me like no other.
My grandma is still with us as I type. For how much longer, I can’t be sure.
What I do know is that this time I won’t find my answers at the bottom of a bottle. I won’t allow myself to ruin her memory with selfish acts. It will be hard enough not being able to say goodbye…
(…I’m not a blogger. I’ve always talked about having a blog because I tend to rant a lot. I am strongly opionated and have been told my ramblings would make interesting topics to read. I have a hard time consolidating my thoughts though. This may be the only thing I ever post online…it may just be a jumping point.)