Newness for a New Year

Monday, April 7, 2008

Breanne in Real Life

Two weeks ago today, my Nana fell and broke her hip. We got the call around 6 p.m. and by 8 p.m. that evening my world had spun off its somewhat stable center.

She was getting up from her rocker to move to the couch, and she collapsed or stumbled--we aren't really sure. Because of her dementia, she couldn't even remember why she had been taken to the hospital.

Amelia and I went directly to LDS hospital and ended up staying up with my family for the next few days. I canceled classes and wore the same thing for 3 days, but it didn't seem to matter. When something like this happens, you really don't care about the things that often seem to cloud your life.

You know those scenes on TV shows when the doctor comes in and says something like "You have two options ..." Yeah, that was me and suddenly the reality of such options struck me with full force. At first, they were optimistic that a hip replacement would be successful and she would be up in a few days. Then, her regular doctor explained the severity of her heart condition and suddenly we had to choose between high-risk surgery or the reality of a few more weeks with home care.

We decided to bring her home and care and make her as comfortable as possible with the time she had left. You spend your whole life trying to evade or prevent death by pills, surgery, and hospital stays but at some strange point death becomes the only option. Your whole way of thinking changes as you have to allow someone to die. The Hospice workers have been wonderful about explaining the natural process of the body as it approaches death. And even though I understand that she will be with us for only a few more days, I still somehow hope that when I go and see her that she will have rebounded. But, she doesn't. She sleeps more and more. She is still a fighter though and her humor still makes us laugh.

My whole life I have believed in heaven. I have always known that our spirits live on, but as I have sat by her side and held her hand, I've never needed to believe it so much. Religious skeptics might say that we create the concept of heaven to console ourselves. But, I believe that because I can feel the love of Heavenly Father, I know that he would make it possible to be with the people I love again.

One of the most comforting parts of the past two weeks have been the memories of moments I shared with my Nana. I like to tell her all the stories I remember. They feel so real to me now. I hold them close in anticipation of when they will be what I have to remember her by and what I will share with my own children one day. I guess it will be something like, "Did I ever tell you about the time that Nana and I .... ?"

Thank you to all the people who have expressed love and help.


Tammy said...

Been thinking about you a lot and hoping all is going as well as can be expected. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help with any of the rest of your life. You are in my prayers.

Karen said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandma. Mom just told me. I haven't had a chance to talk to Alisa yet, but I read your blog, and your way with words is really moving.
The one and only Relief Society lesson I've ever taught was Elder Worthlin's talk from October Conference '06. It is the most beautiful talk I know of about death and eternal life. "Sunday Will Come" - so called because he tells the story of Christ's crucifixion as the darkest Friday the world has ever known, and yet Sunday came. You can read it if you'd like, I'd recommend it, but I wanted to leave a quote of it for you and yours:
"The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.

And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried. The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise, for Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, stood before them as the firstfruits of the Resurrection, the proof that death is merely the beginning of a new and wondrous existence.

Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, in this life or the next, Sunday will come."

Sorry for writing so much. Know that my family's love and prayers are with your family.

(p.s. this is Dan's little sister. Just in case you know several Karens)