I am so upset that I could puke. But I will keep calm and carry on. And on Monday and Tuesday, I will fill the role of the daughter and granddaughter that everyone expects me to be. Never mind what I need.
I am covered in two days worth of sunscreen, and I still have sand between my toes. My hair is disgusting. My shoulders and the backs of my legs sting with a minor sunburn. I have beach hair - smelling of the lake, blown by the wind, and unbrushed. I am hesitant to shower because I will wash all this off. I will wash the weekend off.
I took Zoe and went up north this weekend to take a mini vacation because I was so overwhelmed. I needed to get away. I needed a change of scenery. So I went to Ludington. Didn’t have reservations but knew of a hotel that allowed dogs.
Spent Friday at the beach in the State Park. Ate at the House of Flavors. Watched the Badger leave. Walked the pier to the lighthouse. Saw sort of a sunset. Today I got up and checked out of the hotel. Went into town to have breakfast at the Old Hamlin. Drove to a beach that allows dogs. Zoe frolicked in the lake dragging me behind her on the leash. Left the beach about two. Couldn’t bear to leave then. Drove back into town, got one more ice cream cone from the House of Flavors, and drove to a city park to take Zoe for a walk and eat my ice cream. Took one last look at the lighthouse and the carferry dock. Tore myself away from the beach and the lake. Headed back to East Lansing. Back now. Tired from driving. Covered in sunscreen and sand, stinging from sunburn.
So. I’ve had some time to think. I’ve had a phone call with a fabulous friend (who also spent an hour talking to me sitting in my car last night).
There is a lot going on in my life. Remember how my sister has cancer? Well, she went for a PET (positron emission tomography) scan last week and found out yesterday that it’s not gone. It is significantly smaller, but it is still active. So she will have maintenance chemo until she has to have a bone marrow transplant at the end of August.
Last week, my grandma had a stroke. She is not my grandma anymore. It is just her body laying in a bed. They are trying to make her do physical and occupational therapy, but I know in my heart of hearts that she will not get better mentally.
On a positive note, I did get a Fulbright, and I am leaving on September 2nd. I bought my plane tickets today. I am leaving. I am not coming home unless something terrible happens. Unless the unthinkable happens. I will not come home unless my barely 21 year-old sister dies. Most assuredly, due to her bone marrow transplant, my sister will be in U of M hospital on that day. The transplant requires her to stay in the hospital for about a month. During that time, I will probably have minimal contact with my family. I may have to ask my aunt and uncle to take me to the airport. FDK offered, too. So I know that I will have a way to get to the airport.
My family and I have a strange relationship. I must explain that I love my parents and my sister and my grandma. I do. However, I have never, in my entire life, felt like I belonged with them. I also feel that in many ways, I took a back seat to my sister. I did get to do a lot of things that she will never experience. And. She did end up with cancer. I know that I can take care of myself, and I know that I don’t need as much as my sister does right now. I realize that I am not really high on my parents’ priority list, but to hear my mom say that was awful. Awful. Because she’s my mom for better or for worse. And I know that. I just never thought she’d actually admit that I am not high on her priority list. At least I’ve been given the gift of independence by all of this. There were a lot of times in my life where I felt forgotten.
The only people who always remembered me when I was growing up were my grandma and grandpa - my dad’s parents. And I spent so much time with them. We were close. My grandpa died five years ago this month. My grandma was the only one left. When I felt terrible about my student teaching, I left and went straight to her house, and we went out to eat. It was the first time I ever met my mentor teacher. My grandma helped me pay for my fourth year of college. And now, she is laying in a nursing home not even half the person she used to be. I feel a tremendous sense of loss.
So I know that a few days before I go to Germany, I will go to the nursing home to see my grandma, and I will say everything to her that I feel I need to say. I will leave nothing unsaid, and I will have no regrets when I leave. Maybe she won’t remember after I go, but at least I know that I said it and she knew for a brief minute.
My family is not my family anymore. They are not the people I knew. People continually grow and change, but I barely recognize their personalities anymore. My childhood home is gone. I am reconstructing my foundation. My foundation is no longer my family. It is no longer our grey house with red shutters and white trim, which used to be more than just four walls. And I have no home. I think I will make East Lansing my new home.
I feel tremendously let down by a couple of friends. The friend I’ve had the longest let me down. My other is only a friend when it’s convenient for her. I am done trying to call her or get a hold of her. I want her in my life, but I am not going to force her to be in my life, and I am not going to continue to make a one-way effort to keep her in my life. Luckily, I have so many other wonderful people in my life that I can continue to build a new foundation using them as my support system.
I am tremendously sad today. I will feel better tomorrow because I have planned an adventure for myself based on my own ideas and some encouragement from FDK. I hope it will kind of give me a break from all of this.
So this has gotten to be a little much for me. I am going to try my best to make it through and just keep going.
I literally have NO idea how I’m going to make it through the rest of this summer. What I thought was my foundation was pulled out from under me. And I am sort of on my own now. Not really on my own, but I am working on building a new foundation. This is not easy.
My chest hurts and my hands and feet are tingling.
Tonight, Dad came to visit and bring me some stuff. Then he took me out to dinner. We’re better again. We talked a lot about Grandma and Grandpa. I vented a little about my great aunt (grrr), and we had just an overall good talk.
I feel like I am distancing from some of my good friends. A friend that I’ve had since I was 16 came to visit with his boyfriend on Friday, and it was good to see him, but it just felt weird to hang out with him, and I just really feel like we’ve distanced.
My grandma is in the hospital because she had a stroke, and my sister and I are on Grandma Watch tonight to give my parents a break. They have both been taking turns staying here, and they’re just too exhausted, so Rachel and I are here. We’re going to share the terribly uncomfortable window seat and maybe try to get some sleep.
Grandma keeps trying to get out of bed, but she is paralyzed from the stroke on her right side. She also keeps forgetting that.
I can’t believe that all this has happened in 2010. When it rains, it pours, I guess.
Well, yesterday at 2:30a, my grandma had a stroke. It wasn’t a huge major stroke, but it was still a stroke. She’s in the hospital and will have to have rehab. Ugh. She’s not going to go home again. One more house to clean out.
I think I’m going home on Friday night to see her. After spending Christmas in the hospital with Rachel, I am not a fan of the hospital. Before, when my mom just worked there, it didn’t bother me to go there. Now I hate going there. I hope that she won’t be in ICU when I see her.