Isn’t that how it is for all of us? The first moment we became ill, when we fell to the ground and knew something just wasn’t right, did we ever think we’d never go back to where we were? Who we were? The lives we had?
I can’t accept that grandma will never go home again. Everyone is making arrangements to sell her apartment. They are packing her things and figuring out where to put them, and who will take what with them. It’s too soon. Too soon. Give her a chance. It’s not the end for her yet.
I can’t accept that grandma will never go home again. And I can’t accept that I will never go home again. “Home” in this case, being the life and body I once knew. You’d think the memory of it would be distant by now, but it is fresh. I can still feel what my skin used to feel like. I can close my eyes and remember feeling weightless. I can remember feeling invincible, feeling no pain. I remember taking deep breaths-and that is all they were, breaths. I remember eating food and that’s what it was-food. And I could eat anything. And I could swallow it. And I could run. Run free, with strength, endurance, breath, air. I can still close my eyes and picture my home.
And maybe I will never go home again. And maybe grandma won’t. We might both have to say goodbye to our homes. But we can make new ones. And no, these new homes we build, they will be nothing like the ones we used to reside in. But we can take pieces with us. Grandma can have her chair and her pictures. I can have moments where it doesn’t hurt to breath, where I laugh so hard I forget the pain.
But there is one thing we will carry with us no matter what home we reside in-and that is our souls. Grandma’s soul and spirit live within her wherever she goes. It glows and glistens no matter how dark the situation or how dark the room. And what’s even better, is since this illness fell upon me, pieces of my soul are grandma’s soul. We’ve shared the pain, the loss, the moments of silence where there are no possible words that can be said-where just being there together means more than any word we can try to put to the innate understanding going on between two people. I am thankful for the piece of my soul that is grandma’s. Maybe that’s what this all is.
I lost a lot. Some may say I lost everything. But isn’t that what happens as we get older? We shed. We change homes, change partners, move farther distances from our families, but we leave pieces of our souls along the way. I left a piece of my soul on the bathroom floor of that college apartment sophomore year on the day I collapsed. But I also left a piece of my soul in the backyard I played in when I was a little girl, when my imagination world was all I knew. And I left a piece of my soul with grandma, and the connection we have not just because we are related, but because we both exist in this world. And having a piece of grandma’s soul? Well, if I had to travel over to this world to get it, the journey was well worth the reward. Carrying that with me gives me a piece of home I would have never had otherwise. Because grandma, in sick world or normal world-she is home.