My Losses

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My Losses

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LynnFarmersMarketJune122013I have been away from here because of my friend, Lynn. She and her husband have been our friends for about 20 years, spending time together at church, during holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, camping together and sharing dreams.

I was with her on a recent Wednesday because we always chat on Wednesdays, which is one of her days off. We would meet at the farmer's market or just chat on the phone. This particular Wednesday was her three-week mark from surgery, she said she was doing fine and so we went to the farmer's market together in the morning. I even took a picture of her that day (she didn't know it).

I had brought a movie for us to watch, "Lars and the Real Girl" which is one of my favorites. Lunch was going to take a while (baked potatoes) so we just watched the whole movie and then had lunch ending our time together at 3:30 so I could get home to think about what to prepare for dinner. Lynn's voice was weak, she had some physical issues and wasn't eating very much at all. There were two different surgeries at the same time with two doctors, both had seen her and said she was doing fine. Being 61, I knew she might heal slower and with a heart defect, maybe just a little slower yet. She did say her blood pressure was low.

The next day, Lynn was going to a birthday party at her workplace which she was very excited to do since she had been off work for three weeks; she was missing her friends and coworkers. I knew this but when I got the phone call from her husband telling me he was headed to the ER because Lynn had fallen at this lunch, I was concerned. I picked up her husband in my truck and we went as fast as I could to the ER - 20 minutes at the most. There, in that little "quiet room" that I was ushered into with Lynn's two co-workers and her husband, the doctor came in and said, "She died, she died."

My heart almost stopped. I truly expected to be told she was fine and we could see her, she needed rest, but no... she fell forward at the luncheon, CPR couldn't revive her neither could the ER doctor. This all started at noon and here it was 2:15ish and the doctor finally had a family member to deliver this unforeseen, fateful news. Her heart gave out. That is why the bluntness, I suppose.

Looking back, Lynn's husband couldn't have grasped a lot of words, the simplicity had been appropriate at the time, now that I replay it. So I went through the process with Lynn's husband. It was tough. I've never had the ER situation. I can have fond memories of the folks I've said goodbye to during their hospice days/months or the babies who've passed I've held for friends who had no chance of life after birth.

This was different. I helped contact family members who immediately came, well, two to three hours away, close friends of Lynn who came immediately and who I could trust in this moment. I made sure that when I left at 10 p.m. that night, the close friends were going to stay until family arrived from out of town because we weren't going to leave the husband alone. Lynn was his world, he was going to be lost without her. But not just yet anyway.

So, I spent time with the family over the next week or so. They knew about me and I them but we'd never met face to face. It was a bittersweet time. Lynn's husband's sister is an estate planner so she took care of all those details you need someone to help you walk through. I started with cleaning the refrigerator, taking care of the garden, then I coordinated meals from church and the workplace, the memorial service meal, the tulips, purple in fact, and whatever else was needed. Two weeks ago, today, she passed away and I haven't been to a farmer's market. Maybe next week. One step at a time.

It's interesting to see how my caree, Elly, my grandmother, reacted during this time. I got up from lunch, we were just done and told Grandma that I was going to see Lynn at the hospital, she was in the ER. No problem, she knew Lynn, too. My Awesome Hubby allowed me all the time I needed to be with my friend's family and care for them. AH took care of Grandma and there were lots of leftovers in the refrigerator for her to heat and eat.

Now, I think the confusion is setting in for Elly. This week, I have been in and out, doing errands for our house and my sanity and not just sitting on the couch having conversation about Dr. Phil or whatever else may be on TV that she is watching. The items she puts on the table for "our lunch" are odd and last night's dinner was odd even after I told her what to fix when I left. I called her just before dinner and told her what she could fix again but I still had texts from AH & LivingRoom Son asking if Grandma knew what to fix.

Unfortunately, I had said Yes to someone who needed a ride to a doctor's appointment out of town during yesterday's dinner prep and mealtime. Grandma told me this morning that I needed to stop watering three times a week; plants don't need it and water is expensive. I know she'll get after me once they start wilting.

Grandma forgot the hairdresser was coming this morning and so she didn't wash her hair like she needed until I reminded her as I left for my dental appointment. She got so defensive over that reminder. I am mindful of these things because routine is crucial for my Grandma even though she is usually fine with me being gone like that but something has snapped. There's a schedule that I print out for every week.

At this point, I have got to say No and protect our schedule. I don't like thinking about it but I felt I just wanted to say (scream actually) to Grandma that she could just move into a home - where she could have absolutely no control over her environment or she could just relax and give in to a little more caregiving without such a fight in her mind and with us!

But, alas, she isn't rational in that way. We just went round and round this week about choosing a new primary care doctor and until I picked up the phone and said, "Let's do this together." Whe still would be waiting for the "doctor to call back." There is a book missing that I bought for her, she denies that she ever had it, saying, "I never would have left it at the hairdresser." I think it is there from when she had her perm. It's just the little things that go on and on.

I need to focus on planning for our vacation - a week away!! AH and I will only have one night in that week in a motel by ourselves, the rest we will spend with family. I wish we were rich enough and could get away--without hurting family's feelings--to do the motel every night. Alas, dreaming again!!

So, I am trying to catch up with myself, laundry, and my love, AH.

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EllysGdaughter

Thank You Jan! It was a true blessing to be with Lynn that day :) I now have a new friend, she was talking to Lynn that fateful day - and I asked if she was willing to share with me. She has and I found out she is a Caregiver to 2!!!! I am passing along the resources here and in town plus we can encourage each other in person!!

ejourneys

Hi, EG -- I am so sorry about Lynn's death. Bless you for all the help that you've provided.\r\n\r\nI hear you on the little things that go on and on. I am so glad you will have a vacation and some time away, to regroup and rejuvenate. (((Hugs)))

EllysGdaughter

Thank you G-J.

Denise

Hi EG--I am so sorry about the loss of your very dear friend. She sounds like a partner in crime with you, ready for fun and adventure. Such a shock for all of you. \r\n\r\nYou've got so much to manage that requires patience--grieving and caregiving. I am thinking of you and wishing you much comfort.\r\n\r\nI'm so glad you will be getting a break next week. And, I hear you about the money and the family--a week in a hotel sounds like heaven. :)