Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 3 - Something You Have To Forgive Yourself For

Ok, after yesterday's uplifting post, we go back down again.  I think the most recent thing I had to forgive myself for was not being present at the moment that my Aunt passed away.  When I left Bragg for Colorado, I had the good fortune of having family to stay with, rather than having to scramble to find somewhere to live or staying in a motel.  I was closer to my great aunt than any of my grandparents.  She truly loved unconditionally, with the warmest smile and always with a hug ready for you. 

My relocation to Colorado couldn't have come at a better time.  My aunt had been struggling with colon cancer, and she was progressively getting worse.  By living with them, I was able to alleviate some of the stress of daily living that they faced.  It wasn't anything too difficult - in my eyes I was just "earning my keep."  I cleaned the kitchen, tended to pets, stayed with my aunt while my uncle went into the office, did laundry, etc.  It was summer vacation, so I didn't really have a lot going on anyway.

Eventually school started back up and I was busy with in-services, instruction, and learning the standards/protocol of a new district and a new state.  DH was still back in NC, so it made it easy to stay late at work and get stuff done.  When her time got near and hospice had been called out, we knew it wouldn't be too much longer.  She wasn't able to get out of bed and just sitting her up in bed was a challenge.  She had long since stopped eating.  I've been through this before with my mother, so I know where it leads.  I started wearing and checking my BlackBerry in class, anticipating that call.

The day she died, I was working late at school again.  I knew I had to get home promptly, but I was dawdling a bit.  It was on my way home that I got the phone call.  She ended up dying around 4:15 pm, which is well after the time I got out of school.  I could've been home.  I could've been there for that last breath. 

She wasn't alone though.  Her daughter-in-law, my uncle, and a close church friend of hers were all there, holding her hand and letting her know it was OK to go.  I could easily blame it on the fact that I didn't get a phone call soon enough, but I blamed myself for not making her my priority and rushing there right after school.

I don't feel like I didn't get to say goodbye, because I did have that opportunity.  A day or so prior to her passing away, I was able to have that coherent conversation with her.  I cried with her and asked her to hug my mother when she saw her.

I need to forgive myself for not being there when she died and for not making her the priority like she should have been.

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