27 April 2013
Her Greatest Legacy
I keep measuring in weird sequences of time:
One hour (and exceeding) since my Mom said she'd pick me up as I waited on the steps outside my apartment.
Over twenty hours since I'd eaten a meal and I'd fluctuate between being ravenous and sickened at the thought of food.
Two hours, three hours, four hours (which became six hours) until others would arrive in the city.
One hour since I sent for the priest and was kicked out for nurse rounds and check ups.
Another one hour since I sent for the priest (he got held up) and since my mom left for the airport.
Twelve hours since I was alerted to my grandmother's condition and preparing for the hospital. (At which time I prepared well in the hygiene area, but not well in the duration area.)
Five hours since I'd fallen asleep scrunched up on hospital chairs and four since I thought we would lose her.
15 minutes until the last aunt would arrive who would be present.
One hour (or the longest "15 minutes") since the nurse said she'd talk to us about a private room and final arrangements.
Ten seconds since my aunt asked for us all to pray, eight seconds since my mom agreed and two and a half seconds since my sister (and quite promptly everyone else) broke down.
Ten minutes since we prepared to leave the waiting room and a red alert went off and we all asked, "Is this really happening now of all times?"
Two minutes since this wasn't happening and all of us made a mass exodus to a new room.
Some unknown time since I'd felt this uplifted and heartbroken at the same time. Probably never time. Because nothing else could possibly make someone feel emotions so conflicted, and feel them so intensely, than by experiencing such amazing love.
Several minutes since my mom shattered my heart with her grief and I held on to her, since when words have absolutely no power, sometimes the only thing you can manage is feeling grounded and connected.
12.23. The moment time stood still for a split second and our mother and grandmother wasn't the same. Since we knew she wouldn't open her eyes and shake her head at us and make us laugh with her sarcasm. Since we realized there were things we wish we would have said when she was alive so we could see her approval or see her eyes light up or hear her advice one more time. The moment before the peace and the chaos, the tears and the silent alleluias, the clinging and the letting go.
Another unknown passage of time since tears slowed, miles slipped away and we made our way to grandma's house for the first time when she wouldn't be there waiting for us, when the house would be so empty and so full at the same time.
Twelve hours since I woke up, cleaned my face and went to pray Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be in the solitary morning sunlight. My gift of prayer would come almost exactly a month after her prayer with me before I returned to school after Spring break. (I like to think that my mind isn't weird and instead God is an absolute genius.)
And really, He is. He is a genius and master of time. He knows the beginning and the end, knows our standing and our lying down, knows our hopes and our fears, knows we need him most at our most desperate. He has brought our family grace and hope and will, I hope, bring us a stronger faith. He gave us a wonderful figure to cherish who taught us about Him and showered us with love. We have each other now because she gave us each other. She built up this family so we could persevere through all hardships, even the loss of our beloved mother. By God's grace, we will live lives honoring him, and we will be her greatest legacy.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.