If I can cough, I can breathe, and if I can breathe, I'm still here. 'Here' is a relative term, though, and one whose definition will change a few times in the coming weeks. More so than I'd planned even a month ago, and more so than I've said publicly.I have a plane ticket with my name on it, a ticket that will send me away for a week for a trip that's been delayed since October for various reasons. Instead of an exciting, action-packed Vacation!™ I think I will be … escaping. Resting. I will be gone for a week, and I have zero plans for that week.
Right now, luxury sounds like a night of unbroken, non-feverish sleep.
Thoughts of 'what comes afterward' have been sifting and settling on my mind for the past couple of weeks, and the resulting snowdrift tells me that I need to take another trip, and soon: back to Arkansas, back home. My grandmother is not well. She fell recently, managing to avoid breaking her hip but damaging several discs in her back as a result.
She is eighty-six.
My mother and my aunt are alternating caring for her; my mother says that the thrice-weekly physical therapy has helped my grandmother regain some strength and flexibility, but she cannot fully dress herself or live alone right now.
A half-feverish conversation with a friend this week reminded me of something that has held true for most of my life: those of us who agonize over most of our daily decisions, like me, end up rarely regretting things we have done. Instead, we regret the far larger mountain of actions left undone.
I'm incredibly nervous about the idea of driving back to Arkansas, and popping up as the prodigal [grand]daughter. My choice was to walk away, to make my own life, and so I must also own the discomfort and strangeness that results when life events are enough to bring me back. They haven't seen me in a few years. I look different, dress differently, and there's the undiscountable possibility that I might have grown up slightly in the time away. It will be uncomfortable for everyone involved.
Nevertheless, I think I need to go. In this world, we get four genetic grandparents and two parents. One grandparent died many years before my birth. I am not yet thirty, and in my lifetime I've buried two more grandparents and one parent; if I am honest, truly honest, with myself, I must admit that it is incredibly likely that I will bury my last grandparent within a hand's-span of years.
I am realistic. I know that my grandmother believes she has lived a long and full life, and should we lose her now, I cannot grieve for a life cut short. She has outlived her parents, her spouse, most of her siblings, many of her friends, and one of her children. I wrote about it five years ago, and it holds as true now as then.
Doesn't mean I like it, though.
For now, no decisions. My flight departs in eight days. Given time and rest, I will mend from this combination of unknown illnesses. I will catch my flight, and regroup in a place that I very much like.
I suspect I will drive out shortly thereafter. I think it is the right choice.