Tuesday, September 26, 2006

prayers are always answered...even if it's not the answer we were looking for...

i've been avoiding this blog for what feels like months, afraid that by putting words to screen i'll somehow seal the fate of my granny by acknowledging what up until now is only doctor's speculation.

i've typed out the prognosis at least twenty times before backspacing it into non-existence as though the simple act of removing it from before my eyes will remove it from my granny's body.

i've refused to even speak it, hopeful that by banishing the words from my vernacular it will somehow cease to exist at all.

but i can't escape the words told to me from my brother as told to him from the men who examined my granny's body and found something foreign growing there. they sit like a tumor on my brain, eating away every thought, every image save the short death sentence uttered into my ear. i can't run from the future painted absent of her presence in six to nine months as predicted by those same men. it is impossible to think of her without thinking of it and acknowledging what they're saying will mean her eventual suffering, a suffering i can do absolutely nothing to prevent.

i wish her pain was a pill i could steal from her nightstand and swallow for her. i wish i could gather that disease like a weed, yanking each cell from her body like a determined gardener, planting in its stead the seeds that will bloom her strength to live. i wish...

i'd rather bear the pain of her dying than to bear the pain of my living in the wake of her death.

she's 83 years old. i'm supposed to be happy i've had her so long. i'm supposed to be accepting of the fact that she wasn't to be here much longer anyway but i'm not. i'm selfish. i'm not accepting of it. i wished for her a quiet ending, one where she went gently into that good night after putting up the fight long enough for all of her life's dreams to be fulfilled. it was supposed to be pain free for her, like a slip out of the scratchy burlap rags of this world into the exquisite silk gown of heaven. i selfishly wanted this for me because then i wouldn't see her waste away.

she's been god's servant for over fifty years, a faithful member of a church that worshipped god every sunday and wednesday. she was a sunday school teacher, spreading the gospel to other folk wanting to educate themselves about the bible.

and yet i can't help but wonder if it'd all been for nothing.

i mean, how can god give her this? is this a reward for her years of faithful service? is this her paycheck? is this the devil's work? i know someone's gonna tell me i don't know god's plan but i must accept it. you know what? right now i don't want to hear it. i want to hear someone tell me my granny isn't gonna die this way. i want someone to tell me when i see her lifeless body it won't be a shriveled shell of what she was before that foreign thing devoured everything within her. i want to be able to recognize her when i look into that coffin, not wonder who that person is laying there upon funeral satin in her sunday best. i don't want to have to count each minute and feel guilt because i'm wasting the time she has left by not being with her. i don't want to prepare myself for that moment when i look into her eyes and she no longer recognizes me. i don't want to try to figure out at which moment my granny was lost to me before her body gave out. was i sitting in front of the television when she no longer became cognizant of this world? was it while i took a shower in october? was it when i shivered during a walk in november?

i want her to live long enough to look upon my child's visage and see something of her there, maybe her slightly unfocused eyes that need glasses to see things clearly or her big wide feet that can only wear shoes from specialty stores. i want her to live long enough to talk to my child and see something of her there, maybe the same dilligence she had when she made a living with only a 3rd grade education before getting her ged in her 40s, or her meticulousness as she sat in her bedroom each night between the months of april and september and listened to the ballgame on the radio and did the box scores for the brooklyn dodgers and ny mets for over 50 years.

i want my child to look into her eyes and see where i got it from before i could give it to him or her. where i got my love for sports and my disdain for unfairness and my embracing of all of the things shaping my heritage. where i got my sarcasm and my quirky sense of humor. where i got my husky laugh and phrases dipped in insight and served with side order of compassion. where i got my impatience and insecurities.

i want my child to see the threads my granny supplied in the tapestry of my being.

but it ain't about what i want or don't want is it?

i can't help but feel as though i'm always running late when it comes to life. if someone i love dies, then i regret all of the things i didn't do when they were around, all of the dreams i didn't fulfill so that they could share in my joy. i've been meandering through each moment as though the people around me will be there when i eventually get my shit together, as though their lives are somehow suspended in animation until mine begins in earnest, but it's not like that at all. people will die even if i never get my shit together. she'll be gone before i get my college degree, before i have my first child, before she sees me really happy, just as my uncles did, just as my father did. maybe i'll be dead before these things ever happen.

i'll stop now before i sink too deep. too many thoughts pouring from too many wounds and i'll need my strength for what comes next.