Friday, December 26, 2008

Getting the Story Started

I seriously need to dump the last week or so out of my head. And every time I think about where to start, I get overwhelmed and just think about something else instead. This has been a week of deep joys and excitement, coupled with sadness and worry. I think I'll just start with December 19th and move on from there. On the 19th, we found out that my grandfather was going to need not just a pacemaker, but a bypass as well. We found this out in the late afternoon, as I was readying my kids for an evening at my parents' house and myself for my office Christmas party. Things went haywire from there. By the end of the evening, we were told that Grandpa would be in surgery in the early morning, next day instead of waiting until Monday. Saturday brought a day of waiting by the phone, frantic crafting (in a ridiculous attempt to finish all the handmade gifts on my list) and preparations for Andrew's recital. His surgery was more intense than we had anticipated, as I posted before, and by the time we got to the recital, we were nearly late and emotions were raw. My mom and dad managed to come and we all tried desperately to maintain a sense of normalcy.

Andrew, ever the confident performer, was quite brilliant. He even went on stage for an extra song (that he had not practiced) when asked to do so. I sat in that church, watching kids of all abilities and ages participate in the joy of music and I cried. Publicly, shamefully cried. "This is what it's all about, " I thought. Maybe earlier in the day I had been wondering why we were so busy, why our children were so involved in extra-curriculars (even though, by comparison, they are not), why I couldn't seem to do all the things we were supposed to be doing. But now, this moment was all that mattered and it was nice. Here's Andrew's euphonium solo:

I tried unsuccessfully to upload video of his guitar solo. No luck. I'll try again tomorrow.

Sunday morning, we were trying to ready the house for church. During Advent, we split the teachings up - each family volunteers for one of the four Sundays. We also rotate the responsibility for bringing breakfast among the families in our church. We share a meal every time we're together. It works nicely. Anyway, not only was it our week to have the message, it was also our week to make breakfast, and, y'know, I just wasn't feeling it. And my mom called to tell us that we may want to get to the hospital as soon as possible to see Grandpa. That things weren't looking so good. So my amazing friends all divvied up the kid-sitting to buy us the morning, we shortened our church service, and we headed to the hospital along with Joe and Mindy (my brother and sister-in-law). It was pretty scary to see Grandpa as he was - swollen and unable to move or really recognize that we were there. He's in surgical intensive care, so we could only to in two at a time and greet him, then we had to leave. He did really try to say something to Chris, but we had to leave so he would stop struggling to communicate. We had lunch with Grandma at the hospital and returned home. By the end of the day, he was unresponsive and we were no longer sure he'd pull through. His kidneys were failing and he was being kept alive with machines. But he made it through that night. All the reports on Monday remained unchanged. Some doctors gave us reason to hope, and others told us to prepare for the worst.

It was hard to go to work on Monday. It was hard to pretend that life-as-usual was continuing. It was really hard to face down my Christmas to-do list with the limited emotional resources I had left. But I still had a pair of slippers, a hat and a legwarmer-and-a-half to knit. So I made the silly decision to stop sleeping.

(I'll pick the story back up tomorrow. This is getting long and I need to find some stretchy pants...but there is some relatively good news on the Grandpa front.)

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