Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Obstacles to being happy

Yesterday I was talking about the obstacles I face to feeling happy – and they’re rather large as I haven’t been able to shake it. The biggest is how do you reconcile the fact that as one of your most beloved people in the world enters the world, another will leave it?

For those who missed it, I found out last Friday that my grandmother only has a few months to live. She has a rare and very aggressive form of cancer, and given she’s 90, she doesn’t want chemo and the doctors won’t operate. Basically, she’ll either die from the cancer or an associated complication like pneumonia. Whatever happens, we just don’t want her to be in pain or to have to experience and long and drawn out death.

My grandmother has always been an inspirational woman. She is one of my most favourite people in the world and we’ve always shared a very special bond. She is one of those rare people who is truly an inflator – you always come away from seeing or speaking to her feeling better than when you went it. It’s a pretty amazing gift to have and one I’ll do my best to teach Sticky.

In her true classy style, she is facing death head on. She’s upbeat and happy because she feels she’s had a good life. She’s been everywhere she wanted to go and done everything she wanted to do – except one thing…hold her great grand daughter. She refuses to go until she’s achieved that so we are hoping and praying she makes it.

I saw her over the weekend but couldn’t talk to her about it. She doesn’t want anyone making a fuss or treating her any differently. For me, it was a good lesson in acceptance. Like all of us, she’s had some ups and downs in life, including loosing two babies that she’s never forgot about.  Sharing that experience has probably bought us closer in the past year. But, she has never let the downs define her, change her or make her bitter. She’s simply just got on with life, making sure she appreciates what and who she has and always tells everyone she loves them.

When I first found out, my greatest fear was she wouldn’t make it to meet Sticky. I was told when I got home from my last counselling session so I was already emotionally fragile – that thought sent me over the edge. But in a moment of quiet, I felt my Grandfather around me and he said “Don’t worry, she’s going to make it.” The reality is we have no idea what “a few months” mean. No one can give us guarantees, but it does mean that she probably won’t get too much time with Sticky. So, I’ll have to rely on the few photos we get of them together to share with Sticky the amazing line of women she comes from.

So yes, it is an obstacle to me feeling happy. To be honest, I’ve just felt in a slump for the past few days since I found out. But, as a friend pointed out, it does perfectly sum up the circle of life and on the bright side, I know that my grandmother will become Sticky’s prime guardian angel. I was just hoping that the two of them would have a few years to share together but I guess a day is better than no time at all.

It’s a timely reminder that we cannot control so many things that happen to us. I am facing the reality of having to go to a funeral shortly after my daughter is born in whatever post-pregnancy state I happen to be in. Basically, I’m expecting to be an emotionally unbalanced basket case! But, there’s no changing that because what will be will be. I know that whatever happens, I will cope with the situation. And, just like my grandmother has always taught me, I will appreciate whatever time she, Sticky and I have together because whether it’s an hour or a month, it will be the most precious time of my life.    

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