Bad Signal

Another short post tonight because I’m exhausted yet determined to continue my NaBloPoMo streak with day ten.  This one is inspired by the Daily Post‘s prompt for those struggling with a NaBloPoMo topic.  The prompt is as follows:

Someone’s left you a voicemail message, but all you can make out are the last words: “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.” Who is it from, and what is this about?

When I thought about this prompt, I immediately jumped to the current state of my grandfather’s health.  Being three thousand miles away, it’s hard to know how good or bad things are, and to a certain extent, I’ve been receiving versions of this fictional voicemail message for the past year or so.  Different family members are at different stages of acceptance in dealing with his prospects for recovery, and I’ve often felt the need to wade through cryptic Facebook posts and overly optimistic prognoses, as well as the occasional complete radio silence.

Thankfully last week, my cousin called me directly and clarified the obscured versions of what had been sent across country so many times before.  “You need to come see him, and you need to come alone.  The kids shouldn’t see him like this.”  She prepped me for what to expect, but what she didn’t reveal is how instrumental she’s been in ensuring he has been comfortable in his extreme state of need.  She’s been spending nearly every waking hour at his bedside, finessing the nurses so that he receives the best care they have to offer, and even ensuring our grandmother is eating well and exercising.  I’ve only been here two days, yet every family member that’s come to visit our grandpa can’t help but remark how amazing my cousin is for doing what she’s doing.

Every family needs someone like this, someone pragmatic and grounded in stressful situations who can deal with what needs to happen without being anchored by the petty politics of family feuds.  Someone who doesn’t care who’s pissed off for being left off the group text message that went out or who failed to notify everyone of his arrival time, and someone who has the tremendous humility to accept praise with a shrug of the shoulders, suggesting that anyone would do what she’s doing, even though no one is.

So tonight, I’m thankful that our family has that person, someone who in this particular situation would never leave a garbled voicemail ending with “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.”

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