Thursday, July 31, 2014

With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair...

I was in my neurologist's office, talking about the increase in my migraines. She hemmed and hawed and finally said, "Michelle, I think you're depressed again."

Something about chronic pain and depression feeding off of each other, blah blah, and all I could think was, I KNOW, I've been here before, but I got better. Aren't I still better? Plus, my psychiatrist seems to think I'm okay... But all I could really do was start crying and say, "It's been a really bad week."

It didn't seem to matter; she said I was as dysphoric as she's ever seen me, so now I have to go to therapy again. I hate therapy - my secrets are perfectly fine hidden down deep where they belong.


We buried my grandfather almost two weeks ago, right next to my grandmother, in our family cemetery in Blackwater, Kentucky. It was humbling, to see the number of people who drove 180+ miles from Louisville to a tiny place that's not even on the map, a holler in the Appalachian foothills - all to attend the graveside service for my grandpa.

I heard several people say it at the funeral home, but I always feel like I said it first - Popa was the best man I've ever known.

You couldn't ask for a better legacy than that.


Popa's oldest son and I were in Popa's hospital room when the nurse came in and suggested we should start calling people. Pretty soon we had four more in there, plus our preacher. It was so crowded, and I just wanted everyone to leave - all I could think was, is Popa somehow hearing all this noise?

But there's really no tactful way to kick your own family out of the room.

So we waited, and Popa's breathing got more and more shallow. There were conversations going on around us, but my eyes were glued to Popa's chest - as long as he was breathing, he was okay. I noticed my brother doing the same thing. 

My brother and I clash a lot. We're extreme opposites, and also extremely similar, sometimes.

My grandpa's breathing stuttered a few times, which I had read was normal. The Hosparus wing that my grandfather was in was such a helpful, wonderful place. They let us know what was happening and what to look for, every step of the way. We were prepared.

Then, Popa took a breath, and then half a breath, and then he didn't breathe again.

I wasn't as prepared for it as I thought I was.