Last week I booked a flight to Phoenix out of the blue to try, in any way, shape or form to help my Family. My Aunt Trish (father’s sister) moved out to Arizona about twenty years ago from Seattle and my Grandparents moved a few years later to retire and enjoy the warmer weather. Here comes the real stuff…
My grandfather, Eugene Thomas McNamara – Mac, passed away about four years ago and my Aunt Trish has been taking care of my grandmother ever since. My grandmother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is a little less of herself with each month. I was not there for Mac’s passing… I still am mad at myself about that. So when my aunt messaged me and told me they sold my grandparents’ house and asked for help, I jumped as soon as I could to be there and help.
We all deal with loss in so many different ways. My sister was texting me and asking for me to grab a few trinkets for her two children so they could always have a piece of them, important things that remind her of the love she feels. She later apologized saying “Sorry to stress you out I am just trying to deal with the loss of my grandparents.” It made me think… how am I dealing with the loss of my family? How do I deal with loss in general? I realized, I am not the type to need any last words, gestures or memorabilia; I just want to be there. I just want to be useful, and I just want to help. I just want to be there in the end.
Five years ago, when I got my job at Phired Up, a month into my training my mom’s mother went through a sudden stroke and Jessica Gendron Williams, my supervisor and best friend put me on the first plane back to Seattle. When I got home, I just sat in the hospice room for the last five days of my grandmother’s life and helped my own mother as much as possible. I asked how she was doing. I asked how my other grandpa was doing, and I asked how my sister was doing, my aunt, my uncle and everyone. I try to stay out of the way and be invisible… I don’t really cry, or get emotional… I just need to be there and not miss it, to not let life pass me by without me at least nodding and saying – I see you – you matter – thanks for letting me be here.
I think with how much I travel and how much I work and how absent I am in my entire life… I think my greatest fear in life is that I will miss it. I am afraid I will miss the important stuff and I will never get to say goodbye to the people we lose.
Sorry for the hard post! But this would not be my blog without some real life honesty and openness! Here are some pictures from my time in Phoenix!