I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's a Gloomy Day

It’s been a gloomy day. I don’t know why but it felt heavy, like a dark cloud engulfed me. No real reason, nothing on my mind, just feeling overwhelmed and not knowing why.

As I changed for my run, I rested the back of my head against the cold bathroom wall. I closed my eyes feeling the tears forming in my eyes wondering how I would get past my co-workers without them noticing but it wouldn’t be the first time. I have gotten away with that before ….or maybe they have noticed and never told.

Maybe it is the effect of the 11th night without a good sleep or maybe it is the constant pain in my back all of which seems to be shingles post neuralgia.

I headed out passing my desk when my cell phone rang. I normally don’t get reception in the office, today I did.

The voice on the other end sounded anxious. My cousin asked if I could talk. “Yes” I answered.

In a nutshell she updated me on the situation of my 89 year old aunt, her grandmother. She had been losing weight and her dental bridge didn’t fit any longer. The dentist took a look at her and immediately referred her for a biopsy. Today inconclusive results revealed some rare form of a blood cancer, some intertwined Lymphoma and Leukemia disease.

Another biopsy is necessary for accurate diagnosis.

She is 89 years old. It is different for her, but is it?

Cancer, that ruthless enemy can and will bring even the strongest to their knees.

At her age, treatment or no treatment? Does it matter?

She has lived a long life, is that a reason to give up now?

I grew up with that woman.

She was my caretaker while my mother worked outside the house.

She made my uniforms, made my long curls with a long tail comb, she cooked my meals.

She took me in the bus to meet my mother on payday so she could buy me a large box of sunmaid raisins and an oversized hotdog.

It was not always fun and games. She was a harsh criticizer. She did not have a problem telling you you look like crap and never held back speaking her mind even in the most inopportune times which, as I child, it seemed to me all of them were. Maybe one of the reasons I have chosen to be “on stage” even in the worst times always avoiding embarrassing situations like the ones I lived with her.

She could remind anyone willing to listen of the wrongdoing of someone some 15 years earlier even if that person had spent 14 of those years doing right. Somehow the wrong made more impact in her mind.

But I also saw her pack food and bring it to the needy. I saw her care for the sick.

She never saved any money for a rainy day; she lived in the present spending what she had on the ones she loved or sharing with the ones who had nothing.

She kept strong ties with friends from childhood and always visited them in good and in bad times.

And regardless of the wrong she thought someone had done, she put it all aside if that person was in need of help.

Be present when somebody needs you. A good lesson to learn.

I am feeling the frustration of not being able to fix it for them, for not being able to take over my cousin’s job who will have to drive her to doctors appointments and possibly treatments 2 hours away from where I live, for the family who might soon face a funeral, for the very few times I have spent with her over the years. For the times I forgot the warm meals she made for me. And because now it is the time to put into practice what I learned from her “When somebody needs you, be present”

I need to be present.