Tuesday, April 29, 2014

See You laters, Goodbyes and the Grief Between the Two.

There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. 2 years ago today I was fresh out of the hospital, and I had a horrible fall in the shower while trying not to sneeze because my cut was still so fresh that I did anything not to use my abdominal muscles. Horrible day. 1 year ago today a seamless trip to Farmville, Virginia, yeah I know where in the hell is that, well it's in West Bubble, but anyways I was going with Auntie Yvette to check on her mommy. I packed a quick bag a hopped in Uncle Jeff's new truck to go see about the pretty lady name Evelyn. 

The 4-hour ride Auntie Yvette and I did our usual gossip and other mischievous things. Then a call came from the surgeon on call that was about to operate on Ms. Evelyn. Everything quickly turned upside down almost instantly. I still to this day don't know how we went from a trip to check on Ms. Evelyn to a life threatening surgery so quickly. The rest of the ride was somber, mid way there we traded and I drove while Auntie Yvette rested, called her sister Karen and tried to prepare her self for bad news, not knowing neither of us could prepare for what was coming. When we got to the hospital she was already in surgery and we played the waiting game. Me, Auntie Yvette, and Ms. Evelyn's friend Ms. Dot sat waiting until she came out of surgery. 

Somewhere around 2 am she came out of surgery and that woman was not the woman I knew. The doctor told us that the next several hours were a critical period and were her post op care was crucial to her survival. We prayed a lot cried a little, and went to Ms. Evelyn's house to clean up and rest for a while. After getting things in order at the house Auntie Yvette and Ms. Dot settled on the couch to rest and I went into the infamous AKA shrine room to close my eyes under the pink and green adorned room. It seemed as just at I was closing my eyes under the covers in bed Auntie Yvette screaming peeled my eyes wide open, that’s when I knew something bad happened. 

Auntie Yvette was on the floor crying and Ms. Dot sat in disbelief, the hospital called to say her heart stopped beating and she was on a respirator that was breathing and working for her. Her organs were failing and her body had gone into septic shock. Her insides were failing from the poisonous waste being spilled in her body. She was dying and there was nothing anyone of us could do about it. An Advanced Directive is a legal document that you cannot deter from in any shape or form what is on that document does. Along with that was a very explicit Do Not Resuscitate order. The DNR Ms. Evelyn signed was so specific it would scare anyone who read it, and Auntie Yvette made it very clear that if we did not obey it Ms. Evelyn would come back and haunt us. She was dead serious about that, and I believed her. She passed later on that morning, and at that was the moment that defined me as a niece. 

At that moment 4 hours away from our families I became the back bone to my aunt, my grown aunt that I looked up to for years needed me, the same aunt that every time I needed something I looked to her at that moment she needed me more that she ever could have needed anyone else. At that moment I realized I was growing more then anyone could know. We wrapped our business at the hospital went back to the house and the first thing Yvette L. Gray said is she had a teleconference. I never looked at anyone so sideways at my life, and then I realized this woman is the same person as I am. If you know me you know I will do anything not to think about my latest life shambles. Well so does she, she puts things in the back of her mind until she is ready to deal with them, she has a slight case of OCD, she was going to break at any moment, and I was her glue. After exhaling I began to take control of the situation. I produced the agenda for the day; we showered for the day and began to plan a funeral. 

Now if anyone knows my Auntie Yvette you know she goes OVER THE TOP FOR EVERYTHING! Like seriously, everything we had a moon bounce and like 200 eggs for 6 kids on Easter Sunday. So we already know how this funeral was going to go. It was going to be perfect. I confiscated her phone and was her driver in Farmville the rest of the day, well I mean she had to give me directions everywhere but you get the point. After a grueling day of life smacking us in the face we began our journey home. She was not okay, and neither was I.  

When we finally got home she dropped me off I walked in the house went directly to my room and I cried. I cried because I don't understand why my family seems to not catch a break. From my cancer to this, from Markus having trouble in school to that, from Courtney trying to be the one keeping us siblings together our parents were clearly stressed, and this was not something she or I needed, or was it? This past year has been tough but the bond between my aunt and I truly has become so unreal. If I don't speak with her 3 times a week something is wrong, she calls me first with her toughest life problems. Me, her 22-year-old niece I am her life coach, and she is mine. I have learned more from her in this one year than I have over the course of our aunt/niece relationship and we have been exactly what each other needed at the exact moment we have needed it every single time. Don't y'all see how God can have somebody in your life for years and you don't see his or her purpose until way later. See at this point I’m preaching way better then y'all saying Amen. LOL! The dictionary defines grief as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret. As people we’re taught to learn from and rely on books, on definitions, on definitives. But in life, strict definitions rarely apply. In life, grief can look like a lot of things that bear little resemblance to mourning.

 This year has taught me this very important lesson. Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone. It isn’t just death we have to grieve - it’s life, it’s loss, it’s change, and when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, has to hurt so bad, the thing we have to try to remember is that it can turn on the drop of a dime. That folks, that’s how you stay alive. When it hurts so much you can’t breathe, that’s how you survive. By remembering that one-day, somehow, impossibly, you won’t feel this way. It won’t hurt this much. Grief comes in its own time for everyone, in its own way. 

The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can’t control it. The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it, when it comes, and try like hell to let it go when we can. The very worst part is that the minute you think you’re past it, it starts all over again. Always, every time, it takes your breath away. There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression, and finally, Acceptance.

Rest In Perfect Peace Evelyn Williams



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