A Good Life...

I'm about to embark on a quick, but personal journey back to my "homeland" in the PNW (Pacific Northwest).  Age and time are things that do not stop for anyone or anything.  I have an ailing grandmother to visit and essentially say good-bye to.  It's weird really...to know the sole purpose of a trip is to pay last respects even though that person is still alive.  Even weirder, knowing it's just a matter of time before that person will no longer exist in the physical form.  How do you prepare for that?  I don't think you really can.  I've hemmed and hawed about going, but made the decision, that I must go.  If I don't, I will regret it for as long as I'm left here on this earth.  My grandmother and I are somewhat estranged.  There have been gaps of times where we did not communicate-please don't assume this to be a sour situation...just a situation of lives moving in different directions with little intersection.  However, there has always been a fondness between us that was established in my very young years.  I have always had a special place in my heart for my grandmother.  Memories implanted in my mind that I can recall in an instant.  For these, I am truly grateful.  Regret settles in as I realize how fast time and age moves, and just like that...just like that...you're making a trip to say goodbye.

It's not an all bad trip though.  I'll get to see some of my other family as well, including my Nana who I am extremely close to.  I'm making the trip alone though.  I can't eloquently put into words why I feel the intense need to go alone, but Greg understands and that is all that matters.  I must admit, I'm a little excited to make this trip into an adventure.  Sorrow, death and disappointment are factors that you cannot escape in life, so I'm trying very hard to learn about letting go,being present, focusing on the important things and trying really hard to worry endlessly.


I wrote that little blurb before I left on my trip.  I wasn't able to finish the post before I left, so I am finishing it after the fact.

The last 5 days have been a huge rush of emotion:  excitement, nervousness, dread, anxiety, regret, happiness, grief and finally thankfulness.

I held my grandmother's hand, fed her drips of water, wet her lips, stroked her hair, kissed her cheek, apologized,  reminisced, and told her I loved her over and over again as she was fighting so hard to let go.  When I first got there, she was able to grab my hands and she squeezed them so tightly and with her wide eyes I knew that she knew who I was.  She mustered everything she had to say, "I love you".  From that point on she deteriorated quickly.  On the second day, she only opened her eyes for a quick second, no words, no squeezes, just stillness.  When I had to leave, I didn't know what to do.  How do you tell someone goodbye knowing it will be the last time you ever see them again?  I kept wishing she would die with me there, so I wouldn't have to be the one to leave her.  I feel selfish for admitting that, but it's true.  As she laid there, I saw so much of myself in her.  The structure of her eyes, her brow browns, her high cheek bones, even her hairline.  So much of who I am was in this woman.  A woman I feel I barely knew, but knew intimately all at the same time, and regardless of any of it, a woman I loved so deeply, that I didn't even realize how much until she wasn't there for me to love anymore.  My grandmother died 10 minutes after I boarded my plane back home to Phoenix.  Everyone said she waited for me. I believe that.  We both needed peace in our hearts...closure if you will.  I haven't stopped thinking about her since I left, and find myself searching for things...old cards, pictures, anything and I can tangibly hold to feel close to her.  I feel restless and lost and I'm certain that this is what true regret feels like.  Not the kind of regret you get when you wished you ordered one dish over another at a restaurant...pure anguished regret.  The kind you can't possibly go back and fix.  It's bitter and it's haunting and it leaves me feeling restless and lost.

As much as that part of my trip was hard, I had equally amazing moments as well. I was able to visit with my aunt, uncle and cousins. My other grandmother, my Nana filled most of the other hours on my trip.  My Nana is amazing and a person who has always been in my life all of the time.  The bond I have with her is incredible and being with her, somehow eased my pain from the loss I was feeling from my other grandmother.  As always, she makes everything better.  It was bittersweet though...she isn't in the best of health either and I can't bear to think of her being gone as well.  So, I tried not to drown in my anguish, fear and anxiety, but to make new memories with her as well.  We talked about old times, ran errands together, talked and talked and talked some more.  And when I left, I held her and sobbed like a baby.  Finally understanding the finality of life and wishing I could rewind time.  Wishing and hoping I'll be able to see her again, but knowing time is nothing that is ever guaranteed.  I told her how much she means to me and how much better my life has been because of her.  I had to make sure she knew that before I l left.  

On my drive back to Medford where I was to catch my plane, my thoughts wandered to my own precious little family.  I couldn't wait to get to them, to feel them, to love them.  I am so thankful for them.  The only other time I lost someone dear to me was when I was 15.  Although that was painful and taught me things, going through the death of a loved at 36...when you have your own family...hit me in a whole new way.  It's like I finally know what's truly important in life.  Already, in the 5 short days since this adventure began, I can already feel myself changing.  I can feel myself learning to let go of the insignificant quickly...so unlike me before.  Watching my grandmother in her final hours, gave me a sense of peace about death.  She was surrounded by so much love and for being a part of that, I will always be thankful.

I never want to forget...so I documented...I want to be able to look back and always remember.

First time seeing my Nana in four years.
Me & My Grandpa! 
Nana has always had some type of candy dish.
A tiny representation of her enormous life long bell collection.
I'm sure these were keepsakes from grandkids over the years.
I love her collections of things all over.
Hmm...I think I finally know where my love of collecting things comes from!
Her hair set, the pink heart dish from me, her mom's green powder box...
Nana has had these up in her house for as long as I can remember.
I absolutely love them.
I hope to inherit some of them.
This ugly thing is a bank / door stop.
I remember being probably 3 or 4 and playing with this thing.
My Aunt told me on this trip, that she remembers playing with the same thing when she was little.
Ugly Kitty has been around for a long time.
Has been in every single bathroom in every place my Nana has lived.
If I remember correctly, I think my mom actually made this for her.
Nana has had a few Siamese Cats over the years.
Somehow we took that as an excuse to give her "cat stuff".
This trip she told me she didn't really like cats that much and she is much more of a dog person.  Good to know!
My Nana and I in our younger years.
Fresh lilacs my Aunt Kitty picked for my room.
An awesome home-cooked meal courtesy of my Aunt Kitty.
Nothing like comfort food and family favorites to get you through tough times.
Holding my Grandmother's hand.  
My Nana's little kitchen.
So many keepsakes...so many stories...so many memories.
Working the daily paper's crossword puzzle.
She's always done the crossword puzzle.
I asked her this trip why she liked them so much.
She replied, "I never used to do them.  Mimi (her mom who lived with her) always did them.  When she died, I couldn't bare for it to just sit there every day.  So I picked up where she left off."
 I think I'll do the same.
Two-a-day keeps the doctor away.
My Nana loves her Bud Light!
This one has always been my favorite.
I remember reading this one when I was little and not really understanding it.
Funny what age and perspective can reveal.
My Nana's signature scent.
Oil of Olay + Wind Song perfume.
This combination will always, always remind me of her.
I Iove her so much.
I am so lucky to be able to love her.
Even luckier to be loved by her.  



Back In The Saddle...Again

Wow...it's been a long time!

I've been MIA for no good reason.  I really do love blogging, but it seems like that is the first thing to go when life gets a little too hectic.  Then I regret not posting.  Then I feel like I've lost momentum, and it's just a shame spiral from there!

So, no more of that, and more of me posting when the time allows. 

This space is all about living the good life.  My definition of a good life is one filled with exactly what you need, not what you want.  It's about being happy in the place you are.  Not wishing for more, not regretting what is in the past.  It's hard to do sometimes.  Don't get me wrong, I suck at this at least once a day, but the important thing is to try and always keep this thought process in perspective.  I have some cool posts scheduled in the next few weeks, so I hope you stop by often and I promise to blog more than twice a year!

In the meantime, in honor of Mother's Day, here is funny picture that has totally depicted my life at least one night a week for the last seven years!