Wednesday, April 14, 2010

L for Life & D for Death

“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
~ John Lennon

This is one of my most favorite quotes, because it is so true. These words have been ringing in my ears this week, because life (and death) has been happening despite my plans, which has turned me into quite the busy bee.

First, the good news…

I got approval to reschedule the public speaking competency! I have to complete it on the scheduled date this summer (not sure when that is yet), unless I want to pay for it again and receive a blemish on my transcript. It’s just one more thing to add to this summer’s pile of stuff, but I should be able to get most of it done on my three weeks off in May, so it shouldn’t negatively affect my already crazy summer schedule too much. I am just relieved at this point to have more time to get it done correctly, and I am committed to making sure I work hard on it during those three weeks that I don’t have classes.

I had my annual exam with the doctor yesterday. As I sat in the room in that teeny, tiny, uncomfortable little “gown,” I wondered why it is that I got undressed so quickly. I know how doctor’s appointments work: you wait in the waiting room, you’re called back, and then you wait in the exam room for at least 15-20 minutes. So why is it that having to get undressed for an appointment compels me to play beat the clock?!

I mean, in the time I’m going to spend waiting for the doctor, I could not only get undressed, but I could also get re-dressed and probably reapply my makeup as well. Yet I tear my clothes off in a race against time that exists only in my head as though the future of the world depends on my ability to undress in thirty seconds or less. I know this every single year; yet I repeat the process.

The appointment itself went good, as it usually does. My doctor is really thorough yet efficient, so the “check under the hood” was quick and painless. She told me that, if the test results come back normal (which they should), I can move to having that exam performed only once every three years. While I don’t mind the procedure so much, it’s not my favorite thing, so this was good news to me.

I had made the decision that I wanted to get off of my anti depressant, which I’ve been taking for over two years. Life has changed so much since then, and I feel as though I’m at a good enough place to see how I function on my own. It was never my intention to take the medication for the rest of my life. My doctor had recommended it as a way to get through the incredibly stressful time right after my sister’s death; when we were planning a wedding, dealing with living in a hotel for a month as a result of a dryer fire, and dealing with the deaths of Music Man’s grandpa (a about two months after my sister) and my grandma (five months after my sister).

The doctor was really great about coming up with a conservative schedule that will slowly wean me off of the medication with hopefully little to no bumps or side effects along the way. Worst case, the tapering off won’t work, which will be my signal that the medication is still needed. Best case, I’ll have weaned completely off the medication in six weeks, and will hopefully be able to deal with my lingering seasonal depression on my own. We’ll see what happens. I have to admit that I am a little nervous.

We also talked about switching up my migraine medication since the old one doesn’t seem to work, as evidenced by my Emergency Room visit back in January. She wrote out a prescription for Imitrex, which I’m not thrilled about. I’ve heard both good and bad reviews of Imitrex, and it doesn’t seem to work for a lot of people. I know everyone’s different, so we’ll just have to see how this works for me. She wrote a backup prescription for Vicodin as a “rescue medication” if the migraine doesn’t take well to the Imitrex, because the Vicodin has proven to be a good rescue med since the Emergency Room sent me home with some back in January.

I totally forgot to ask her for a referral to an allergist, but I’m going to try a few other OTC things before I go the allergy shot route. I’ve had the shots in the past, and they were time consuming and not incredibly helpful.

Now, on to the not so good news…

Music Man’s grandmother passed away on Monday morning. She was 92 years old, so she lived a long and happy life, and we saw this coming. Music Man was able to go to the nursing home to say goodbye to her on Saturday. He’s not sure if she knew whether or not he was there (he’s choosing to go with the idea that she did), but it meant a lot to him and his mom for him to be able to see her one last time. We are having a very short family only visitation tonight, followed by a family dinner. The funeral and burial are tomorrow.

I also have a dentist appointment tonight, which I’m hoping will be done by 6 o’clock so that I can make it to the visitation on time. I could reschedule the appointment, but I’ve already rescheduled it like four times, and Music Man told me I should just go to the appointment. I’m really hoping I’ll make it to the visitation on time, because I want to be there to support my husband (even though I’m getting the impression that he doesn’t need a lot of support right now) and I don’t want to look like a schmuck to his family.

I just hate funerals so much. (Who really likes them, right?!) Ever since my sister’s funeral, I am much more sensitive to death and much more uncomfortable (and sometimes emotional) at funerals. Sometimes, I even get panic attacks. The plan is for all of the grandchildren and their spouses to be pallbearers though, so I must gather up my strength and go.

What I’m about to say is shameful, and I know it’s an awful thing to think and say out loud, but it’s how I feel…

I don’t get why people are so incredibly sad when old people die. It’s a fact of life! Music Man’s grandma lived to be 92. By today’s standards, that is a long life!! I don’t understand the carrying on that surrounds losses like these. I mean, I get that losing someone you’re close to is hard. I understand that no one likes to have to say goodbye. I know that my mother-in-law will miss her mom (and misses her dad) and that Music Man will miss his grandma (I also miss mine), but people have to die sometime, and preferably, it’s when they’re older.

Not to mention the fact that Music Man’s grandma has repeatedly said that she’s ready to go. She wanted to be reunited with her husband. She has missed him and grieved his loss every single day of the two years she’s spent without him by her side. A loyal Christian, she was ready for God to accept her into his Kingdom of Heaven. Her last weeks were spent suffering as she got increasingly more ill, and in her last days, she was purposely kept incoherent (with the help of meds) so that she could be “comfortable” while her body just shut down. We should all be at peace now, because she’s finally at peace and her suffering (both physical and emotional) is over.

Don’t get me wrong. I think we should most definitely honor old people after death by looking back on and celebrating their lives, but I guess I just can’t get too broken up over someone who’s lived a long, happy life. I am always stuck thinking about my sister, and I know that’s where a lot of these feelings come from.

She was only 19 years old when she died!! She didn't just die either; she was murdered! She left this world far too soon. Her death was unexpected, shocking, and tragic. It made sense to cry and carry on over the loss of her, because it wasn’t supposed to happen so soon. That’s not the way things should work! We had to shop for special clothing to cover the marks left from her murder. Her casket had to be positioned opposite the usual way (i.e. her head was on the right instead of the left when viewing the casket from the front), because there was bruising and smoke damage on the right side of her face that they just couldn’t cover up good enough.

We will never know what she could’ve accomplished, how her life would’ve turned out, or what person she would’ve grown into. She will not get the opportunity to finish college and work her way through a career until retirement. She didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate her 21st birthday, nor will she celebrate the other milestones—25, 30, 40, 50, etc. We didn’t get a chance to prepare ourselves for her death or to say goodbye while she was still living. We just have to hope that the impact we had on her while she was here was enough for her to know and remember how much we loved and cherished her.

That is a tragedy worth getting torn up about. The death of a 92 year old woman who, by her own admission, has lived a happy and fulfilling life? Not so much. I'm sorry. I know I sound like an awful, horrible, no good, very bad person right now.

Grandma’s funeral is tomorrow. I will fulfill my duties as a pallbearer and will support my husband as we say our final goodbyes, but I choose to celebrate her life instead of mourning her death. Based on her beliefs, she’s in a better place now. She is finally at peace, and for that, I am thankful.

P.S. Lovely reader, I am really really really far behind in replying to comments you’ve left for me and in commenting on your blogs. I wholeheartedly apologize. Know that your comments mean the world to me and that I have not forgotten about you. I’m doing my best to get caught up quickly!
Creative Commons License


  1. what you said makes sense. but the hole that's left by a ninety-two year-old's departure can be just as ugly as the hole that's left by a nineteen year-old.

    when an adolescent dies, you lose so much wonder, so much vitality, so much future.

    when a grandparent dies, you lose so much wisdom, so much perspective, so much history.

  2. I get what you are saying about old people dying. My grandmother died in November at the age of 86. And I miss her but at that point she was suffering and I knew that it was her time. I have tons of good memories to replace the bad memories of seeing her sick at the end so that's what I choose to think about.

  3. That John Lennon quote is my favorite. I think of it often when I feel I need to refocus.

  4. When my grandparents died, I was sad. I cried and mourned, and a week later I went on with my life.

    When my best friend died at 18, I lost myself. It was the most painful thing I have ever felt in my life. To this day, I get so emotional whenever I see his picture or think about him. I think it is harder to lose someone who is young.

    Yes, I will always love my grandparents, but old people are supposed to die. That's how life is. Someone who was so young and barely had the chance to experience life should not die. They should not die like you sister did, or how my best friend did. Those deaths are tragic, unexplainable, and heartbreaking.

  5. I agree with you about celebrating life when an older person dies. It's sad and you always miss that person, but you are's not the same as when someone dies tragically or unexpectedly.

  6. they are such different situations. one person wanted to go, and the other was just starting off her life and had so much to look forward to. sometimes, life can be truly unfair. i am sorry for both of your losses.

  7. I totally understand what you are saying and I have to agree with you as well. Your sister was taken far to soon and your husbands grandma lived a full life. I am like you in the fact that I get more upset when young people get murdered than when a older person dies of old age.

    Stay strong!

  8. Death is part of life, true. So is grieving for someone you love - even if they're old, even if you know they're dying, even if it probably is for the best in a particular set of circumstances. But usually the grief is shorter, the shock less.

    Great news about the public speaking competency, and all the best with the medication tapering-off.

  9. I totally agree with you on difference between the death of a 92 year old and a 19 year old, and the circumstances of each. Well said.

    And I gotta tell ya - I do the race-to-undress-and-get-into-the-gown-before-the-doc-comes-in-the-room too! :)

  10. I get you! There's a difference. I know when our peers die, it is such an emotional and philosophical experience. I think probably the elders have it the worst when experiencing the death of a loved one, whether friend or family. Because when one of their peers die, it makes them face the reality of their own, very likely sooner than later, death. And they also are hit hard when someone they know that is young, passes. Especially because they've already had the experiences that someone so young will never have, or get the opportunity to. I think they mourn deeply, because of their wisdom.

    Thinking of you and wishing you wonderful results with the Dr. exam and med change. HUGS


Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for taking the time to comment! Readers like you make me want to continue writing. I will do my best to reply to your comment by either commenting on your blog or by sending you an email. In order for me to send you an email, which I really really like to do, because it's a more personal response, you need to put your email address somewhere on your blog or in your blogger profile. Also, can you please make sure to leave me a link so that I can come and visit your lovely blog? Thanks a bunch!

I hope to see you back here again soon!

Related Posts with Thumbnails