Monday, March 21, 2011

For my Dziadzia

I stood in my closet frozen in place. What do you wear when you are asked to say goodbye to someone for the last time?  I knew that in my mind that it would forever be "that" shirt that I said goodbye to Grandpa in. I, for some reason, have a knack for remembering entire outfit sequences that are tied to traumatic events. I decided on my soft grey hoodie with the torn kangaroo pocket. When I arrived at the nursing home he was still very aware of all of us. He turned his head, looked at me with his ocean blue eyes, and mumbled, "Hi Carly." Between his own nine children and the swarm of grandchildren present he still knew us each by name. I spent the evening watching my grandmother and aunts touch him, hold his hand, wipe his mouth. Things that I was afraid to do. They seemed so unaffected by the gasps and grimaces that the pain of death was bringing to his body. My grandmother sat next to him and calmly made conversation like she always does. As much as I'm facing a life alone I can't help but wonder how she will do it. How do you go home to a bed you've shared with someone for over sixty years? As time passed he grew more and more uncomfortable. Even through his pain he would make the sign of the cross, talking to his God, knowing that soon they would meet face to face. When it came time for me to return home to my sick baby I kissed the top of his head and told him I loved him. It really felt just like the millions of times I'd said it before. But somewhere in the back of my mind I was keenly aware that this would be the last time. As I collected Lex from my parent's house I couldn't help but notice the candles that my Dad had lit on the stove. I closed my eyes and wished that they offered me some of the hope and encouragement that they once did. Belief in a higher power, hope that life isn't just about making it through each day, anything... But instead I just felt the empty twinge of bitterness that has taken the place in my heart where my faith used to live, and drove home to my own empty bed.

"Do widzenia," -  Carly


autumn said...

This is heartache, life and death. I am shedding tears for you and your grandmother.

Your faith can live again, I am so sorry everything is so dark right now.

Becca said...

Oh Carly. Faith has seasons. It's so hard to go through the ones that are bitter cold and dark as night. I'm here to hold your hand, if you ever need.

Rest in peace, Carly's grampa.