psalm_onethirtyone: (Narwhals Narwhals Swimmin' in the Ocean)
This summer, as I'm pretty sure I wrote, my advisor's son was killed by a drunk driver. I wrote him a card at the time to tell him how sorry I was; I didn't really know what to say (what do you say to a parent who's just lost his child?), but I had been working with a lot of people at the time who had lost children, and I wanted to say something.

He didn't say anything about it when I got back to school, so I really just assumed that he didn't want to -- I know when people comment on my really emotional posts I rarely know what to say, and usually end up not answering, but always being glad on the comfort that people offer, so I figured it was like that. He's mentioned his son once or twice in class, and I always feel sad, but certainly don't say anything.

Anyway, to-day I checked my mail for about the first time in a month, and there was a note from him thanking me. And he included a picture of the beach where they scattered his son's ashes. And I just stood there in the post office and cried, because -- I can't imagine. I can't imagine how big and terrible it would be. Scattering my grandparents' ashes was, in a way, easy to do, because they both lived long, full lives and I had plenty of time to make peace with their deaths. But to lose your oldest child right after he'd graduated from college, when you hadn't seen him in a year, and to have to give him back to the earth -- I just can't even begin to quantify how much grief you might feel. I just can't.

This kind of thing makes everything, especially me, feel really small. I wish I could do so much more to make things better, but my own power is so limited. In a way it makes me know that hospice is the right place for me, and in a way I feel bad even saying that because this isn't about me at all.

I guess what I wanted to say here was how moved I am that he took the time to write me a note and share the picture with me, which he didn't have to do at all, and I'm just so sorry.
psalm_onethirtyone: (This is My Way out of This)
So... this metaquotes post. I have feelings.

I have worked in nursing homes and had experience with hospice since I was fourteen, and I think -- I think the OP's point is something that I have noticed all the time, which is that people get tired sometimes and run out of emotional resources. All the time I have told folks about respite care by explaining that while it's great that they are taking care of their loved ones, and that it's a beautiful measure of their love, almost everybody gets worn out sometimes, and when that happens, it's okay to take a break. Respite care, for example, is provided by some hospices as the opportunity to let the hospice take over the patient care for a week or a month before you resume it, and it can be such a big deal for patients in helping them avoid resentment or having nervous breakdowns themselves. The same is true of putting folks in nursing homes. Sometimes the emotional burden is just too much, not to mention the degree of specialised care, and that is o. kay.

I have had friends who left me because they couldn't deal with my mental illnesses. I understand why they did, because as incredibly difficult as it was for me, I believe it was pretty hard for them, too, watching me suffer and feeling helpless to do anything. I don't think they're bad people. I think some folks are cut out to provide constant emotional care, and some aren't, and the folks who aren't shouldn't be punished and reviled for that fact. Not everybody is an empath. That's just a fact.

My aunt couldn't take care of my grandparents when they got dementia/Alzheimer's. It wasn't that she didn't love them any more, it was that she was so incredibly broken down at feeling that they weren't her parents any more, that their memories of being her parents were gone. For my mother, she was devastated, but she was still able to care for them. It's really an individual emotional makeup thing, and you can't force yourself to be able to cope with terrible situations if you aren't that kind of person. Also, some people need to mature emotionally before they can handle big stuff -- when I was thirteen I refused to visit my dying grandmother or go to her viewing because I was terrified of death and I wasn't capable of dealing with the reality of it. Now, if I could do it over, I would have done those things, because dying people don't frighten me any more, but I don't think my younger self was a bad person. Just somebody who wasn't ready at that time.

At the same time, I do understand the anger at feeling abandoned when you've gotten sick. The friends I talked about before, at the time I was pretty angry with and hurt by; the zenness has come with time and a better understanding of how people's emotional resources work. ALSO, I think it's okay for me to feel angry and to acknowledge their feelings; there's nothing wrong with feelings, as long as you act on them appropriately (as we taught the kids in our kindergarten conflict management classes last year!); I can feel abandoned and understand why it happened at the same time.

Anyway, I'm posting this here because the comments to that post are kind of a clusterfuck and there's a fair amount of blame being thrown around, but. Everybody suffers, and they deal with it in different ways. You have to expect that.

The dying process is often much more difficult and complicated than the actual occurrence of death. That's why I want to be a hospice pastor; I want to be able to help families deal with their reactions, as well as to be spiritually available for the folks who are dying.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Just Clothe Me in a Blur)
My mother called last evening to say that my nana was expected to die sometime during the night.

There is so much I regret.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Soujin's People)
This morning in Anthropology we watched a film about old Jewish folks living in Venice Beach, California. It was beautifully made and the interviews with the people were great, and I burst out sobbing at the end and continue to cry through the entire discussion.

I realised how much I miss Granddad, and not just Granddad but my people, Charlie and Gayle and Anna and Jennie and Bobby and everybody. Knowing that things are better for them doesn't mitigate the loss of them. I mean, it does, to a degree, but--

On the way back from class I met my therapist, which was fortunate, so I cried at her and she hugged me and made me tell her good memories about Granddad and then made me promise not to be alone to-day (that woman is wise to me and my ways, which is not exactly a bad thing). So I'm going to try to remember to do that.

For now I've decided to lurk here in the student cafe until they bring up the soup. It's supposed to be turkey rice, which would be nice, because otherwise I don't have much incentive for not skipping French like a bitch. It is not my favourite class ever.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Death Comes for Nemo)
My grandfather died to-day from cancer. He was in a whole lot of pain, so it's not a bad thing, and I'm glad that he won't be hurting any more. I just miss him very much.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Everyone is Fond of Owls)
On my way to Newport yesterday I passed by the Ridge Road farm and both their red piggies were out. They're so beautiful! I really hope we have pigs again; having Christmas and Bertha was such a great experience, and I really would like to have a breeding sow that we could actually keep. Mama and Maria are discussing the possibility of raising calves and selling them at auction in adolescence--we'd actually make money off them that way, and we wouldn't have to butcher them ourselves, which was definitely the most traumatising part for me. I would like that a lot.

We've raised 275 dollars so far for [ profile] mhari's family! I would love to make it to $300, so if you can spare even five dollars, that would be completely fantastic. You guys have been so great, and I promise I am working steadily on everybody's fic.

I decided if I can't go to Dunedin and be with [ profile] saucynuisance I might as well go to Greece as New Zealand, so it looks like that is what is ultimately going to happen. I e-mailed Dr. Hutto yesterday to ask if he would write me a reference, and I need to e-mail the Dean of Students also as soon as possible. There is so much paperwork, and I have to get my passport renewed.

I went to my first ever viewing Thursday--a patient of Mama. It was kind of weird. On T.V. &c dead people look exactly the same as live people; they don't in real life. My aunt has decided that she's going to cremate my grandparents when they die, which I'm not sure how I feel about, I kind of hate the idea of cremation. Me, I want to be buried in a cardboard carton under an apple tree (fruit trees love bone marrow, it is super good for them) and get broken down back into the earth as soon as possible, not be preserved whole in a box or turn into a handful of dust. Of course that means making provisions, but I'm willing to do that.

I'm kind of ready to get back to school (I say that now, but I bet you a week after going back I will be suffering from full-blown symptoms again and wanting to die).
psalm_onethirtyone: (Kerchief)
It’s a little hard to sum up everything that’s going on right now, but I can give it a good try, or at least make a bulletpoint list of the important items, which may work just as well.

--My granddad will probably be dead within the next month. We thought it would be more than that, but he’s sicker than everyone thought. He’s in hospice care, and I know they are going to make him as comfortable as a person can be until he dies. It really is the dying that’s harder than the death--if I thought he would live the same amount of time and die on the same day but without any of the pain I think it would be almost easy to acknowledge. It’s just that he hurts so much, and all the time.

--The good news is that that’s the only really bad news. Otherwise, Christmas was kind of quiet. Will has decided he wants to be a dentist, which is really weird to me, but he’s got two more years before he’s even in college, so. I just find the dentist part surreal, since Will is a very, very handsome boy who keeps a coffin in his room and plays guitar in a rock band.

--I got my ears pierced as a present to me, which is sort of exciting. I have little stars in my ears! It only hurt a lot! I am totally going to forget to turn them every night, and I am going to rely on [ profile] the_chloroplast to help me know how to do this right.

--Sherlock Holmes was utterly crazy and totally wonderful, and I loved it. Also, Maria has a celebrity crush on Robert Downey Jr., which is really really funny. I think we’re going to watch it again on New Year’s unless there is something better coming out, which I doubt.

--We watched the Star Trek episode where Kirk gets body switched with Dr. Lester last night, and somehow I’ve promised to write Maria Spock/Kirkette. That episode is just crazy, though, because it’s the most incredibly brilliant plot idea and they totally didn’t realise what they had in their hands, I think. The mutiny aspects are played up and the absolutely gorgeous unspoken Kirk-Spock interaction is just treated as mundane, which is really isn’t. Also the loyalty of the crew to Kirk, and also how badass Kirk is as a woman--a lot more badass than he is as a man, actually, but it’s really cool. I can also see how the episode could be perceived as incredibly misogynistic, and I was wondering where anybody else has seen it--particularly [ profile] greyswandir. Because I want to know what other people got out of it. But I really loved it, and now I owe Maria fic, which is terrible, and it is going to be terrible.

--I’m going to post my Yuletide fic here as soon as I can, but I’m really reassured because my recipient liked it a lot, and that makes me feel really good. I was hoping she would. >_> I might actually creep on her and friend her after the reveal. I wonder if that’s bad manners.

--I also wrote Galahad/Sagramore, for some reason, but I’m not actually planning to post that unless there is some demand for baffling religious imagery and Galahad’s extremely weird relationships with people.

--I’m actually writing all this at two-thirty in the morning, even though I’m posting it now. There are kittens scratching on my door. I am going to kill them. Mabon walked through my paint to-day while I was working in my crafting area, and the Tribble is the cutest, cuddliest looking poof of fur, but when you try to pet her she glares at you and walks away.

--It's no longer two-thirty in the morning, and I have discovered, on the way to the library, that my car's speedometre and odometre no longer work. Also, he does not want to shift into first gear, and is making a very weird dripping noise when I drive. O_o This is really not the time, Car. Much as ilu.

--I swear to God I’m working on people’s Twelfth Night stuff!

--I am still on dialup and do not dare to try to inspect what has been going on in my flist during my absence, so you tell me! How was your holidays? My hopes are for the best--although it’s freezing, there is an almost full moon outside, and it is very beautiful
psalm_onethirtyone: (Dye My Eyes and Call Me Pretty)
I'm home. More later.

Read more... )
psalm_onethirtyone: (Gotta Surface Soon)
In brief:

To everyone's surprise, Natalie is not the one who's pregnant. The honour goes to Val, Daniel's long-time girlfriend. They're getting married. I'll be an aunt.

My grandfather is dying. He has inoperable cancer; we can't tell him because he won't remember. Mama said we'll be lucky if he lives to his ninetieth birthday in December.

I'm giving blood on Tuesday and God, I need this so bad.

I'm serving Eucharist at church to-morrow and should really be in bed right now, especially given that I haven't taken my antipsychotic mood stabiliser* yet and it will put me out for about ten hours.

*not that I'm bitter

I have got to get out of here, things have got to even up, the natural order of things is still natural but I'm losing my ability to handle it anyway. Oh, God, I wish it were a different day. I don't know how to face church right now.


psalm_onethirtyone: (Default)

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