An exchange of souls

This morning as we were getting ready Lesley decided that she would ride her bike to work as it would buy us a few more minutes in bed (she has to be at work much earlier than me – normally I just go early but today I could walk the dog and get gas and go in a bit later). As she was leaving I told her not to die on her 2 mile bike ride. I often worry about her any time she leaves the house and especially on bike. But now it feels more urgent to express that she should not die. She said she would do her best but maybe that’s what needs to happen – in order for our child to arrive someone needs to leave. There is only room for so many souls and that’s why this baby isn’t here yet.

Lesley made it to work just fine and will likely make it home fine as well. Her soul is spared and will be around to take care of our child. But my grandfather’s will not. I got a call from my dad today that they are giving my grandpa days to live. This is not a huge surprise. He is 92 and in a nursing home receiving hospice care. He has dementia that has gotten worse over the past year. Around Memorial Day my grandma said he had to go into a care facility. He was too much for her to handle. We saw him around that time and I understand why. He threatened one of my cousins with a fire poker. He didn’t know what was going on. He had not been himself for a long time.

Since going to the nursing home he has declined rapidly. He is highly medicated and for good reason. He was kicked out of nursing home one when he bit a staff member. He’s had some falls that have hurt him physically and now is completely out of it. My dad was told yesterday that he had maybe a month – the next step would be that he stops eating. Shortly after that conversation with a nurse he stopped eating.

Despite being raised Catholic I am not religious. I know logically that my grandfather is not living a life he would want to live. I know that he is 92. I know it’s time. But my religious upbringing makes death hard for me. It’s the part of religion I hold on to – the idea of the after life that I don’t believe in. I struggle knowing that whenever this happens we will be unable to fly 3,000 miles for a funeral. I struggle to not be with my family now. I struggle with not seeing him, even though in May I struggled so much with seeing him as someone different.

So here I sit, waiting for labor to start and hoping with all my might it comes soon because I currently feel like there is an 8 pound mass pushing on my pelvis. And here I sit, waiting for a phone call that my grandpa has died. And right now, in my mind, I believe that these two are cosmically related in a way that brings me so much sadness and so much peace.

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Posted on September 18, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’m so sorry. The connection with birth and death is difficult (our pregnancy started with the loss of my mother-in-law). I can only imagine the combination of feelings you are having right now. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  2. While there is something poetic to a life beginning at another’s end, it’s still so so sad. Lots of love headed your way!

  3. Evelyn’s paternal grandfather died just days before she was born. I always say a family member leaves shortly before or after another is born.

  4. There is something about the idea of souls meeting and exchanging some words or advice, or even a hug and kiss that makes that transition a little easier and kinda beautiful…I’m sorry to hear about your grandfathers health declining….I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers… ::hug::

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