Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thank Goodness My Life Isn't *This* Nightmare

I don't consider myself to be a paranoid person. Generally. But there are some things that I have to do a certain way ... for luck. There was a time when I was afraid to let my husband get a v@sectomy, not because I thought there was even the remotest chance that I might want a third child - my two wee ones keep me hopping enough as it is, and I know my personal limits - but because if we made it so that we couldn't have another child, that was inviting something bad to happen to one of our current children. We could never replace a child were something horrible to happen, but the possibility of procreating somehow in my sleep-addled mind kept away the bogey man.

It's silly, isn't it?

But two nights ago I had a nightmare that woke me up at 4:30am and kept me from sleeping the rest of the night. In my dream, I had to euthanize my dad. He was sick and wasn't doing well, and my mom wasn't up to doing it herself. We were all in our "house" (which of course wasn't my actual house, not only because it was spotless) talking about how to do it and how it had to be me. My dad said good-bye to the wee ones, and the plan was for me to drive my parents back to their house for the actual euthanasia. Trying to explain to the wee ones that Grandpa was going to die. And he was going to die tonight was beyond heartbreaking.

When we got to my parents' house, my dad called the wee ones one last time to say good-bye, although I have no idea how we got through any of that. I was the one who had to load the syringe, and I was going to be the one who had to actually do the injection. I was a mess and shaking in my dream. I am grateful only that I woke up before I actually pushed the plunger - and that two days later, this is all the detail of the dream I remember, because I remembered every second of my long and intense dream when I woke up.

As soon as it was decently possible, I called my parents to ensure that my dad was ok. He was. I didn't tell them about my dream. How could I?

That nightmare got me thinking, though. I have no idea how I will someday - and I hope very far away someday - get through the loss of my parents. And more importantly, how will the wee ones? They absolutely adore my parents and they see them and spend time with them constantly. They are so much more a part of their lives than typical grandparents are. They take them to gymnastics and tae kwon do and to laser tag and have them spend the night, not because they have to but because they genuinely want to.

My dad had pneumonia last week that amazingly didn't linger forever and turn into anything worse, as it tends to do with him at least once a year now. Mister Man came home from school last week and announced to me once he'd heard that Grandpa was on the mend, "Of course he is. I prayed for him at church on Wednesday, that's why he got better so fast." That melted my heart, but I know someday all the prayers in the world won't help him get better at all, let alone "so fast" as he did this time.

I have no magic amulets. I have no secret code to keep my parents here and healthy and alive forever. I don't know how I'll survive without them, and I'm eternally grateful that I haven't had to try. My fingers are crossed that I don't have to try for many many many years.

Have you lost your parents? How have you coped with that type of grief and loss?

In the interest of full disclosure, this was part of the From Left To Write book club where we don't write traditional book reviews but instead write posts inspired by the books we read. I received a copy of "Signs of Life" by Natalie Taylor for review purposes only. I received no compensation, and all opinions remain my own.


Amy Heinz, Using Our Words March 28, 2012 at 3:00 PM  

My father, one of my son's best friends, died a few months ago. He'd suffered from the effects of brain cancer for years, but it was still hard to believe we had to say goodbye. Now I do my best to continue talking about my dad and all the great memories we have so my kids will remember him. Sadly my baby girl was just 5 months old, but I pray she'll hear stories and fell his love through the rest of us. I wish you many, many more years of time with your parents.

Pat March 28, 2012 at 3:56 PM  

My parents both died in 2003, 2 months apart. I was not close to either of them, I suppose because of the dysfunction of our family, and I'd lived 500 (or more) miles away from them for 23 years. This sounds terrible, but I did not miss my father. I did miss my mom, though, and felt a lot of guilt for not calling her very often. She would always call me. For some reason I was never emotionally close to her.

trooppetrie March 28, 2012 at 6:09 PM  

i hate dreams like that.

Char March 28, 2012 at 8:15 PM  

What a scary dream! I am very fortunate that I have never lost someone I am really attatched to.

Lisa Hanneman March 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM  

What a chilling dream! Having dreams like that are the worst, but hopefully the memory will continue to become fuzzy.

Luckily, my children's four grandparents are still with us. My parents are a MAJOR part of their lives. I think about how difficult it would be if we moved away, cannot imagine how they would react to something so much worse. We're lucky for having such great parents!

anymommy March 28, 2012 at 11:35 PM  

I'll be thinking about this for a long time. I don't think there are any right answers.

Laural Out Loud March 29, 2012 at 12:24 AM  

What a fascinating concept for a book club!

I've been having really crazy, vivid dreams lately, and most of them are a trip to remember, but a few have woken me up and kept me up for hours. Not fun at all.

Thien-Kim aka Kim March 29, 2012 at 12:35 AM  

What a scary dream! I would have called my parents afterwards too!

Tami March 29, 2012 at 5:50 AM  

When my grandfather passed away my Mom could not handle being in the room. I held his hand and talked to him until he passed. It was hard, but I felt like I needed to do it for my Mom.

Raevyn March 29, 2012 at 1:25 PM  

My Mom has been gone almost 10 years now. She hid from all 3 of us kids just how sick she was until it couldn't be hidden anymore. From that point, to her death was a matter of weeks. All 3 of us saw her in the hospital, all 5 of the grandkids saw her (ages 6-19 at the time). We all knew it was coming, and was just a matter of time. She was home with Hospice support for a matter of days before she passed, and she waited until none of us kids was there when she did it. It IS hard, but the kids understood (and still know) that she's an angel now, looking down on them. For me, the hard part was accepting that it WAS time for Hospice care, and that nothing was going to improve her situation, so at least at home, with Hospice, we could better control her pain & suffering, because we wouldn't be restricted like the hospital is to X dosage of pain meds every X hours, when the meds wore off much faster than the nurse was allowed to give it to her. I do hope that you & the wee ones get to have them around for a very long time!

Michelle March 29, 2012 at 2:34 PM  

Amy - My condolances. That has to be so hard for you, but I love that you're continuing to talk about him. I keep thinking that I need to have my parents create videos of stories for someday.

Pat - I understand that completely. It goes back to that "you can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family" theory.

trooppetrie - Me, too! We won't comment on the car alarm going off 3 times last night (including at 2am) with police three doors down last night that kept me from sleeping last night, too ;)

Charlotte - You are very lucky. I lost my Gram who I was so close to. I feel like I actually was able to prolong her life by being there one night and calling 911, but that didn't make it easier when that day finally came.

Lisa - I love that you have that. We have that with my parents, though not my in-laws. We have boundary issues with my parents though, which makes it hard. That someday will be awfully hard!

Stacey - I don't think there are either, but that doesn't mean I don't want them!

Laural - I'm with you. I love this concept for a book club, and it's a ton of fun to participate in!

Kim - How do you not call after that?

Tami - Oh, I can only imagine. I love that you were able to give that gift to your mom, but oh how hard for you.

Raevyn - It's amazing how much of a blessing hospice is and can be. And it's amazing to me how quickly people often go once they go into hospice. I wonder sometimes if it's because we resist going to hospice for so long or because people are finally comfortable and can make their peace.

Heather April 2, 2012 at 3:28 PM  

I think I need to find this book. I am having an incredibly difficult time with the loss of my stepmom in October. I feel like I had no closure in the situation because she & my dad kept her cancer pretty quiet and we had no idea that it was as bad as it was..Until my dad made me help him make decisions regarding her care. It was all a really horrific ordeal and experience and on top of that, my stepmom and I didn't have the best relationship so there was a lot left unsaid.

That is a terrible nightmare that you had- I hope you have many years left with your parents! It's tough to lose one!

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