I feel so privileged.
No, I really mean it; despite the exhaustion from endless driving and waiting at doctors' offices and hospitals and school parking lots; despite the endless worrying about this test or that test - science for one, blood for another. I am truly privileged.
I sometimes feel so out of sync, like I am watching both sunset and sunrise at the same time, on opposite horizons. I turn and the sun has crept up. I whip back around and on the other side of my world it's sinking too fast. I don't want to miss either one.
This is my life: to see the slow, yet beautiful completion of my mother's life while watching the expanding, brightening existence of my daughters'. I can see both ends of the rainbow at the same time.
I am privy to tender moments between my parents that I have never seen before and no one else is seeing. I am a part of a sacred happening, as my parents accept the reality that their lives together are coming to a close and that it must be allowed to happen, for it is natural and it is right and it is time.
I watch my girls reaching out for new experiences and new friends. They test themselves; they test me. They push forward, sometimes roughly, and then come running back for reassurance. There is magic happening as they become the people they will be, independent of me.
Waiting, sitting in the hospital with Mom and Dad, I hear the stories I have never heard before, the ones that embarrass them, the ones never told before; the ones that matter. I can see now how events in their lives have shaped them. Maybe I understand better why they did the things they did; why they reacted in certain ways. And then I can see how I must affect my girls, in the way my parents have affected me and theirs affected them. I can see backwards and forewords for generations, like multiple reflections in dual mirrors. It boggles my mind.
I am honest with my girls. I tell them Gram is back in the hospital this week. This time it is her kidneys. The medicine she takes for her heart dehydrated her so much her kidneys stopped working. But she will be okay. This time.
B, the worrier, cries and cries.
"Is Gram going to die?"
"Yes, honey, she is. Not today, probably not tomorrow, but she will. We don't know exactly when."
"Will you get cancer, too?"
"I might. I don't know for sure. I try to take care of myself and do things that we know help to prevent cancer. We know a lot more now about cancer than Gram and Papa did when they were my age. But no one really knows when they will die."
A, the philosopher, asks if Gram knows she is going to die.
"Yes; she knows. "
"I am going to miss her. A lot."
"Me too, honey. Me too."
My Mother, in the hospital with an IV in one arm and an oxygen tube in her nose, asks about the girls.
"How are they doing? Are they back in school? They are such sweet girls!"
I try to soak it all up, like a sponge. The sweet, the sad, the tender, the funny. I have soaked up so much, I am leaking tears.