Friday, December 31, 2010

A Sad Ending to 2010

As I sit here on New Year's Eve, my heart isn't into a new year. As I try to live one day at a time, there is no need for me to make resolutions or make amends as a year ends. I try to live my life in such a way that I make amends to those that I've hurt in any way as soon as I'm aware that I may have hurt someone. With resolutions, if I make them, I usually don't follow through past the first few weeks in January.

Just over a week ago, I received a phone call from a friend telling me that a dear friend of mine had liver Cancer that had spread to her lungs. Gayle, my friend had only found out this possible diagnosis a few weeks before I got this phone call. They were unable to do a biopsy due to all the fluid that was already on her abdomen. As my mother-in-law was in hospital for heart failure and kidney failure, I had to go to the hospital anyway on Tuesday, December 21, and since I'd found out from Gayle's husband that she was to have a biopsy that day, I went searching for my dear friend. I'd worked at that hospital as a registered nurse for several years, so it was easy for me to find her. She was surprised to see me, but I could see how ill she really was.

We hugged and I gave her a special plaque that we'd been sharing with each other over the years. It was her turn to have it, and I told her that I expected her to give it back to me in April. She said she would. We both knew that she wouldn't be on earth to do that, but it was our way of showing hope. As the elevator was taking us down and I had to stop on the 2nd floor to visit my Mum, I hugged her again and she said, 'I love you'. I said, 'I love you.' As the elevator doors closed, I started to cry.

However, I had to be strong for my mother-in-law, so I wiped my tears and went to visit Mum. I did tell her about Gayle, but as my mother-in-law is 92 and is of sound mind, but now has a body that is dying on her, I can no longer use my mother-in-law as a Mum and dump all my worries and concerns onto her.

I've had a rough couple of weeks. I did see Gayle again when she was admitted to hospital in a private room, but she was basically unconscious due to all the pain medications that they were giving her. I read to her, talked to her, and she held my hand tightly. She'd opened her eyes once and she looked scared, unsure of where she was, so I told her to go back to sleep. Then I said 'Good bye'.

She died on December 28th at around 3am in the morning, and I'd seen her for the last time on Boxing Day, December 26th. I'd spent time talking to her husband and of course I've been praying for him, their two adult sons and her own Mum who is 97. Gayle has left a big hole in a lot of people's lives.

Her funeral is January 4th at the Anglican Church in Langley, BC, that she'd take her mum to each Sunday. I've had some peaceful days, but mostly I feel numb. I've had some weepy days and I'd even asked God to give me a spiritual awakening and then I said don't bother. I've had more than my share of them. Later that day, while putting groceries in the trunk of my car, I found a loonie. I immediately picked it up and thanked Gayle for it. When my mom died, I found pennies for months. When my dad died, I found dimes for months. Gayle left me a loonie which has a lot of significance to me.

And while at a meeting today, a friend called me to look at what was found where I'd been sitting. Where my chair had been was a penny. I believe that they are pennies from heaven and while I'd love more loonies, I know that finding pennies, dimes, or loonies are all from those 3 people that I've loved and lost.

I've had other losses in my life of course. But losing Gayle who was my friend, my counsellor in life, a spinner and knitter, and someone who had a sense of humour that could get me out of a bad mood in a second, is a loss that will stay with me for a long time. One thing that she'd always say to me whether I was sharing something upsetting or something joyful was 'This Too Shall Pass'. And when I didn't know what to do next, she'd say, 'Do the next right thing'.

These two phrases will always stay with me. Today I went to my local yarn store to look around as I don't really need more yarn, but I told the owner about my loss and I was just looking for something to comfort me. She handed me some beautiful Alpaca that she'd just got in, and the softness of it just melted my heart. I purchased 3 skeins of a beautiful royal blue. Then I saw the new Rios by Malabrigo and saw 3 skeins of a mixed purple colour. I knew I had to purchase these also to make a triangle scarf just for myself. The pattern that I use is very simple and it is mindless once I've done the bottom and a couple of the triangles. It is a perfect project for me to be working on right now, so I can just knit and also remember all the beautiful times together Gayle and I had. I can also allow myself to grieve.

I wanted to buy some green yarn as Gayle had the most amazing green eyes and when she wore green, she was just stunning. But I realized that I could no longer make anything for her to wear. However, I can make something to charish out of both of these yarns for myself in memory of Gayle.

While I won't be making any particular resolutions for 2011, I will continue to keep my inventory of my yarn, books, magazines, and needles up to date. And I will label yarn in my huge stash to sell at a guild meeting or just give some of it away to those who have less than me but do want to knit.

Mum isn't doing well, and we will be in the process of moving her from independent living to assisted living once she is medical stable for such a move. This is a difficult time for my husband and for Mum. It is also a difficult time for my three grown children and my daughter-in-law as it is unlikely that Mum will live to 2012. However, she has surprised all of us in the past. So for now, I'm just being there for her, helping her with nursing care and communicating with the doctor to do the best for Mum. And she told me not to grieve long for her. I can grieve a little bit for her. I love my mother-in-law very much. She has been a Mum to me ever since my own mother died in 2002. And I'm so grateful to have had such wonderful women in my life to support me on my journey.

My many projects in knitting are mostly just sitting there. In January, I will decide what I really want to make and what can be ripped out. I realize that I don't have time to spend making many projects and I don't do just one project at a time, but I will finish a sweater for my grandson, a sweater for my granddaughter, and possibly a vest for my grandson and a winter hat for my granddaughter.

Right now, I'm lucky if I can knit for a few minutes without feeling overwelmed with sadness and loss. But as Gayle would say to me, 'This too shall pass.'