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Sometimes I feel broken... - Nobody wears a white coat any more... — LiveJournal
...a tribute to becoming a doctor.
Sometimes I feel broken...
My grandmother died tonight.

It is hard to put this to words - I spilled them out in a tumble and flow powered by exhaustion earlier today, rambling to our behavioral psychologist on staff, who provides me with what therapy I need, when I need it. I think she likes to listen to me ramble. I needed to talk, needed to sort through the lingering guilt I feel for the way I feel, and to understand.
I am sad, grieving in a vague and distant way. I have felt almost as much emotion at the passing of ICU patients; I am not prostrate with grief, neither stunned nor shocked. I am, rather, almost relieved. This has been a long time coming - more than five years of occasional updates on a woman who was powerfully willed and who fought death with every drop of it. I have had a long time to get used to the idea.
And I am post-call, and too tired in the depths of my heart to wake emotions quickly.

I remember, viscerally, oatmeal and vitamins and a woman whose back entry room held a handful of toys as a refuge from the fragile loveliness of the rest of her house, tidy and neat. This is the woman who gave me her old English book, who bought me Lord of the Rings, who corrected my grammar and my manners, and my memories of her are vague and clouded. For so many years now, she has not been who she was: a whipcord-sharp spark, a grandmother who could rejoice in my triumphs.
She was at my wedding, in a wheelchair, and I do not know if she remembered then who I was. For the past few years, she recognizes only a few people. I am not one. I have not visited overmuch. I think there may be some lingering guilt there too, although there is also my pragmatism, as painful as that is.

I think, to be honest, I started mourning her more than a decade ago - here, if I were to put a date on it. She aged ungratefully - afraid of dying, fighting it with all her strength, outliving the 19__ carved on a tombstone next to her husband's name. That has always made me smile.

And now I do not know, I do not understand why all of this was necessary to bring tears to my eyes at last, to give me some echo of personal loss. I have become inured to death - no longer afraid of it, no longer instinctively rejecting it. It is merely there, an omnipresent facet of living.

My grandmother is dead. It seems surreal, unreal, too late almost. But there is an echo in it of grief, still, and mourning.
I wish I understood.

Current Location: death,family,introspection
now feeling:: sad bereft

25 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word
clipdude From: clipdude Date: April 21st, 2006 01:14 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
I'm sorry about your grandmother.
missysedai From: missysedai Date: April 21st, 2006 01:16 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
I'm so terribly sorry for your loss.
pwwka From: pwwka Date: April 21st, 2006 01:32 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
My great-uncle died in much the same way a few months ago. The feeling was strange... I wanted to write down everything I remembered of him. Afraid I would forget the POW stories and the Boston terriers and that constant police radio. I felt upset and empty. But his death was also a long time coming-- he no longer knew even his daughters very often, much less a little girl who used to spend time at his farm.

And oddly, I began to think of what happens in Prachett novels when people die. They get up and the pain is gone; they walk away with a comical sort of character named Death. And the stories of Heaven I've heard at every funeral, young or old, religious or not. And I realized that he-- and your grandmother-- are undoubtedly less upset than we.

I think the hardest part was thinking of the memories my grandmother has of him. Her grief. She, the last of her siblings. We, who are left behind, grieve. It must be doubly hard for you, beloved. Sometimes I sit and wonder how such a sensitive person as I remember you to be can handle the impact of the suffering paraded before you.

I pray for you and your family. May your strength of will be unshaken, may the gentle warmth of your heart remain bright. You are loved.
fyrfitrmedic From: fyrfitrmedic Date: April 21st, 2006 01:36 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
My condolences...
jays_princess From: jays_princess Date: April 21st, 2006 02:05 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
i am so sorry
coanteen From: coanteen Date: April 21st, 2006 02:47 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
i'm very sorry to hear about your grandma.

but glad that you're not about to drown in guilt. if there's one thing the medical profession makes us understand is the onmipresence of death, and personally i try not to be too sad when people who have lived good, full lives finally slip away. that's what i would like for myself.
tyomniye From: tyomniye Date: April 21st, 2006 03:20 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
leon03 From: leon03 Date: April 21st, 2006 04:54 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Thanks. I appreciated the poem.

It reminds me of my grandparents, in the ways that they are aging gracefully and not-so-gracefully. I'm lucky to have all four of them still alive. I'm realizing that said statement is not likely to be true in another 5 years or so, and feeling a little guilty that they are all helping me out in rather substantial ways at this point in my life, and that I don't visit more than I do.
zecular From: zecular Date: April 21st, 2006 05:22 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Vita-marie, my dear one, I lost my grandmother 11 months ago following nearly a decade of seemingly similar characterstics. I lost her while I was in a far off country, unable to see her one last time. I am familiar with the emotions of which you have written and therefore offer you no advice, knowing none will suffice. I'm sorries are welcome and natural, but they do not change anything. I pray for your peace and ability to cope.
ashrie From: ashrie Date: April 21st, 2006 06:32 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
I'm really sorry. I know it doesn't help much right now, but I am sending the best wishes to you and your family for this difficult time...
daimones From: daimones Date: April 21st, 2006 07:39 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
*hugs tightly*

May she find the peace she so craved.

To you and your family, may they remember her as the woman she was, the way I'm sure she'd rather be remembered.
From: silmaril Date: April 21st, 2006 02:03 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
May she rest in peace.
mama0807 From: mama0807 Date: April 21st, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
My heartfelt sympathies on the loss of your beloved grandmother.
lemur_lady From: lemur_lady Date: April 21st, 2006 03:33 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
*hugs* I'm sorry for your loss.
From: dr_bobbie Date: April 21st, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)

omarius From: omarius Date: April 21st, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
My heartfelt condoleneces.
sugar_spun From: sugar_spun Date: April 21st, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
I'm so sorry for your loss.
ecchikun From: ecchikun Date: April 21st, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
Sorry to hear this, my condolences. Your Dad mentioned Monday she may not be long for the world, and went to be with her, but I've seen him only a handful of moments since then, and didn't know until today what the outcome was. How's he holding up?
ayradyss From: ayradyss Date: April 21st, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
He's my dad. He's hanging in there.
Chelly's coming in from Chicago today to be with him. Her sense of filial duty is better than mine. We'll probably swing in on Saturday.
turnberryknkn From: turnberryknkn Date: April 21st, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
Our sincerest condolences. Our thoughts are with you and your family at this time of grief.
From: broken_onewon1 Date: April 21st, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
I'm sorry for your loss *hugs*
mydestination From: mydestination Date: April 22nd, 2006 01:15 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
I'm so sorry for your loss :(
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 22nd, 2006 02:01 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
A part of me thought it would be easy, that maybe in all the time, the distance that has built up, that she would slip away, and it wouldn't hurt. And yet there are carab-flavored memories whispering in my mouth, and a sweet longing for a pillow of wheat bread. Most of all, I think that her death strikes as a type of betrayal... not because she's gone, because she left, but because she left him, like we all have. Sometimes I am surprised by the power of the protective nature that rises in me when I think of him, alone by her bed, singing hymns. The beauty, sadness, and, if I'm honest, bitterness of that thought strikes me half-paralyzed. And memories, ones I thought I'd repressed, things I didn't know I knew, come rushing back. So do the tears.

I love you. Chelle
compxlicated From: compxlicated Date: April 22nd, 2006 12:56 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
*hugs* I'm sorry for the loss :( she'll be with you always
shoebucket From: shoebucket Date: April 23rd, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)

I don't know what else to say that hasn't already been said...
25 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word