"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Well, the epic weekend has come to a close, and boy was it full of surprises and learning experiences.

I had a lot of panic attacks. My panic attacks are unnoticeable...as in unless you really, really, really, really REALLY know me, you don't notice they are happening to me. I honestly don't think my ex-boyfriend whom I dated for almost 4 years could notice, and he is always able to tell when I have a headache or stomachache. I don't even think my parents could tell. So I keep it very hidden. I don't have obvious symptoms (i.e. short of breath, rapid pulse, sweating) but instead I feel it in my stomach and I feel like my entire world is collapsing around me and that I am unprotected and vulnerable. Sometimes they can be 10 seconds to a couple of minutes and usually the only cure is to be alone for a couple of minutes, or if that is not possible then I usually just quiet down and sort of "give myself a hug" (i.e. just wrap my arms around my stomach so that I cover that sense of feeling "unprotected"). OK but enough about that. Point is, I usually only get them a couple times a month and extremely sporadically. But this weekend I was having a couple a day. Not sure why....My longest one was Saturday morning, after breakfast, before seeing anyone really--And before going to the service--it just came over me. I immediately excused myself, came back to our hotel room and just hid underneath my covers...in my nice dress....I mean really- Who does that? Me, I guess. Not often though, I promise.

Anyway, the memorial service was really excellent. I am usually not an emotional person, by any means. I used to be proud of myself that I could be in very traumatic situations and not shed a tear....it just literally wouldnt happen. No tears. I guess now I realize I just never had anything to cry about, til now. Now, being 23, I friggen cry in movies. WTF is that?   

But honestly, I had already shed my tears for my grandmother. Don't get me wrong- I was still very sad and still in disbelief- but what made me actually cry was seeing everybody else  cry. My rocks...my aunts and uncles. My mom. I don't like to cry in front of people because I can't just shed a tear. If I am going to cry, I am going to bawl. So I didn't want to bawl. So I kept telling myself to just play it cool, play it cool, don't cry....but, I did. Seeing everyone else cry is really what did it.    

Other than that, though, there was never another cry-moment. The rest of the weekend was spent with my amazing crazy family, and it really was just like that dream I had, sort of a premonition of how the weekend was going to go. We talked about grandma, we laughed, we told stories, we shared pictures, we felt her there with us, too.

But what I learned most of all, is something  I should have realized long ago and what will ring true with me for the rest of my life. Just as I did realize in my dream, my grandma (in the dream) was healthy again. In real life, before passing, she was extremely not-healthy and her quality of life was rapidly decreasing. She could no longer do some of her favorite activities. But in the dream she was back in full health, full laughter....playing games with everyone.

Well, through talking with family, they helped me come to realize that my grandmother is happy right now. We joked around that by now she is organizing some sort of big event in heaven, she has already joined a choir to sing in and play her accordion, she has met up with people from her past, she has made wrong things right, and most of all, she feels healthy again. And she will always be looking down on us. So I don't worry about her, I am not sad anymore. I am happy for her. She got her happiness back. And she will be around to visit us all on occasions :-)

My cousins are growing at an extreme rapid rate....like almost non-human! Its quite comical because after me, 23, the next 'group' is my sisters 'group', composed of 2 18 year olds, a 17 year old, and a 15 year old. For the past ten years it has been a constant struggle.... Do I sit with the adults? Do I sit with the kids? But this year I found it much more widely entertaining to stick with the "kids", except they're not kids anymore! They are going to college! Crazy to think about when you remember them being born. 

My cousins from Florida, I see them grow up on Facebook, but its not the same as seeing them in person. And I haven't seen them in person in about 3 years or so...So last time I checked, they were still young teenagers. Well, this weekend they were mature, gorgeous, amazing kids *mini adults* and it was such a treasure to see them like so. One of my younger cousins, only 10, asked me what I was drinking today. I told him, wine. He says......"Are you old enough to drink wine?"  And I said, "yes, I'm 23."   Needless to say, he did not believe me! I guess everyone is growing at an alarming rate. I can't even believe i'm 23, actually. What kind of age is 23, anyway?

Well....time to hit it. Tomorrow is our epic 10 hour drive back home and I am lucky enough to be dropped off 3/4 of the way through to spend a fabulous night with my bestest college roommate EVER, and we will be seeing the Philadelphia fireworks on the fourth of July! So COOL! Im pretty sure it will come in second place after Amsterdam adventure in terms of best nights ever. I'll be sure to tell you all about its awesomeosity. :-) 

Before I leave you, I will leave you with delightful pictures:

This is SO SPECIAL. My grandfather came out today with a handful of my grandmothers jewelry, and said that grandma would be so happy for all of you girls to take a piece of her home with you. So we did! We all picked out some of her necklaces that fit our unique personalities, and I will forever cherish this, forever and ever and ever. And ever after that, too. And the cross- my grandmother loved to sew. Anything that could be sewn or embroidered, and she was on it. Well, She hand-made these crosses. I guess at one time she was making them to sell. Well, we found a box of them, all in different colors. We figured it would be nice for everyone of the family to have one, but would there be enough for all? Probably not. But alas, we counted them- and sure enough, to a tee- There was exactly enough embroidered crosses of hers to go around to every single family member-even our newly born 1 year old to the family. If that is not a direct gift to our family from my grandma in heaven- I don't know what is! So something more to forever cherish.....

Memorial service photos....Amazing to see her throughout her entire life span and how much we look like her!

This is the garden outside of her church....just gorgeous...

This is my cousin's first born!! Ahhhhh how are we old enough to have kids! AH! But he is just an ADORABLE bundle of JOY and I was so happy to have finally been able to meet him from Florida!

One of the 18 year old Floridian cousins trying to pretend like the grass is actually amazing to lie in like it is in the movies.....I never actually asked how it was but it sure didn't look amazing. But SHE is amazing!

This is my sister getting her hair braided by her one cousin, and my other cousin in front of her. I call them the three musketeers :)

Goodnight all! Thanks for reading....

~A writer in a Nurses Body

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