I don’t like surprises. I have worried about my grandmother’s legs being cut off for years. Recently her legs have gotten darker and the blisters on her swollen calves have popped leaving wounds that heal slower than they were designed to…. Now I have cause to be concerned but for completely different reasons. The interesting thing about anxiety is that often no one cares about what you’re worried about. Sometimes the real problem is so much bigger than you could have anticipated. These are the times when you don’t want to be right.
Grams’ doctor had a few tests he wanted to have run in-house, but I did not want to take her to the hospital. Usually, I’m all over that, I am a hospital pro. Strangely enough, I feel very at home there and Grams typically returns feeling better after being treated. But I was afraid that if she went in this time she might not come out. The hospital is where my Grams feels most comfortable, she knows nurses are monitoring her health day and night, people tend to her, and she doesn’t have to sleep alone. It’s ironic, I’m not sure if she’ll make it out of the safest place she knows.
We did take her to the emergency room and my fears were eclipsed by scarier ones. I guess swollen legs are no match for talks of heart-failure and hospice. I tend to get calmer when facing major issues and increasingly anxious over minor ones. When I walked into her room after hours in the ER, the reassuring thought came over me as I recognized my surroundings: “this I know.” Sometimes we get so used to a scary place, we look forward to the familiarity. In the uncertainty, in the awful, maybe this was God anesthetizing the element of surprise. I don’t know. These days I don’t know much of anything. So what do we do with this? We talk. It sucks. I am grateful for the fear of loss of love, the acceptance of its occurrence, and the experience of it having existed at all.
Grief is an inexplicably hard channel to swim through. The fear before the grief can be insufferable… No part of that is ok until it is… Let it be whatever it is until it becomes something different.