Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Adventure Day 9 – Part 2

#30 – Visit someone I haven’t seen in at least 6 months to a year

When I made up this list I have to admit that a several of the items were written with me already having an idea of what I wanted to do or who I would see, etc. #30 I wasn’t really too sure about. Who haven’t I seen in 6 months to a year that I’d WANT to visit with? I’m a firm believer in that if you really want to do something or see someone you make the time. So who hadn’t I made the time for? Hmmmm. Then it struck me, I knew who I was going to get in touch with - my cousin Aims.

Aims and I grew up with very little in common. She was a part of Pop’s family (who we didn’t have a lot to do with growing up - they were into the sauce a lot and a bit dysfunctional, well more than us, or so we think). Aims is only a little over a year older than myself and a big gal, in every way. She is tall, sturdy, has a big voice, with big attitude, and a great big heart too go along. She makes me laugh (which is saying something) just being herself. I love Aims.

Aims and I come from as different backgrounds as you could possibly imagine. Her immediate family didn’t go to church – we did, her dad (in her words) was an alcoholic – mine didn’t even drink, profanities were abundantly used (not necessarily out of anger, but instead often just as adjectives, nouns or verbs) – we got our mouths washed out with soap if we even whispered a ‘bad’ word, she was loud – I was quiet, and the list could go on. Needless to say during our growing up years Aims and I didn’t have much at all to do with each other – we were from different worlds.

However that changed quickly in 2002. That was the year my aunt (on the other side of the family) passed away and then my grandmother on Pop’s side found out she was battling cancer and refused to die anywhere but at home on the farm. It was fall time when my one aunt called one day and said she was trying to set up a schedule for people to cover taking care of Granny (that’s what we called her) 24 hours a day. She wanted to know if I had any extra time to do this. I lived 20 minutes away but she didn’t’ live far from where I worked much of the time so I ‘signed’ up for three half days a week – Monday afternoon, Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon.

I briefly mentioned before on the blog that I recommended taking care of a dying loved one, if you have the chance. This is why…

Granny was ill and needed our care for a good two months. From October until the following December (13th to be specific) her family committed to making sure she was as comfortable as possible in her home during her last days. This wasn’t always easy, as she got a little moody with some people (her only daughter for sure) but was a sweetie to others (me) – however we did it. We keep a little journal to track her days, funny things that happened, notes for each other (some very silly), and visitors that stopped by. One time while I was on ‘shift’ 3 older people had come by to see her and so I had them wait in the kitchen while I checked with Granny to see if she was up to company. I had forgotten that we kept a monitor in the bedroom to listen to her in the kitchen (where the people were waiting) and when I asked if she wanted to see them, after describing who they were, she said ‘Oh no dear, I don’t want to visit with them, they never know when to leave.’ When I got back to the kitchen to tell them that she wasn’t up to it they were practically already out the door and in their car!

During these two months I not only had an opportunity to care for my grandmother, but I got the chance to get to know my pop’s side of the family. Now I will say first off - not all of them are my choice for a good time on a Saturday night, but in the midst of what was going on I was able to bond with many of them for the first time. Aims was one of them. Aims usually came in Friday evenings when I was leaving. At first we’d just say our hellos and goodbyes and that was it. After time went on I would stay a bit longer and hear about what was going on in her life and I’d share a bit about mine. We’d trade funny stories from the week and laugh together.

I want to remind you that Aims has a giant heart – she’d do anything to help, but at the same time she has a sailor’s mouth (and it was worse back then). At that time I was just ‘coming to’ about life, my faith and all that stuff and she taught me a lot. As we began to get to know one another I learned quickly that it doesn’t always matter if what comes out of someone’s mouth could make your ears turn green and fall off – if they have a heart of gold you don’t notice so much (or sometime’s at all), but you have to stick around long enough to notice.

Aims and I were only beginning to get to know each other when Granny finally passed. A few days after she was gone I was having a difficult time. Not so much with the loss of Granny per say (as she was ill and it was time), but with the loss of community I felt with my family for the first time. We were so used to seeing each other so often, and sharing such an intimate experience, that for it to be over all of a sudden was hard. My first would be ‘shift’ after Granny had passed I called up Aims (which was waaay out there, we hadn’t gotten ‘phone talking’ close). I just told her that I missed everything, blah, blah, blah and we talked for an hour. From then on a friendship developed and we grew to be great friends.

So how did she get to be my #30? Well life happens, people’s lives change. She got married (Wally and I were the only attendants in the very small and simple wedding that was held in Granny’s yard the summer after she died), had a daughter, and well unfortunately after that it’s hard to keep up, probably more because Wally and I don’t have kids and there was generally less to relate to (no matter how hard you try sometimes). I missed Aims and our conversations about our dysfunctional family, her stories about work (she took over much of my cleaning business when I went back to school) and just laughing. I love to laugh.

Last night wasn’t some fairytale moment of two friends coming together and rejoicing that their kindred spirits were reunited again. No. But it was 2 ½ hours of reconnecting (my favourite thing in the world to do), laughing (yay!!), updating and realizing that we need to see more of each other. Will that actually happen? Who knows? But I will keep her on my ‘catch up’ list to be sure and keep track of as time goes on – even if our ‘coffee times’ are sporadic. In the end, I will always be grateful for who Aims is, and most of all the experience we shared together – our grandmother always wanted us to be friends.

1 comment:

Zoe said...

Loved this, especially since I've actually met Aims. =)