Death Doesn't Care About Our Calendars
CW: dying family member, cancer, frank discussion of death and various emotions
Hello dear hearts
I am currently in the process of packing for a potentially extended trip to Texas on Tuesday.
Thursday afternoon, my dad messaged me that my aunt’s health is in rapid decline. I don’t want to go into detail except to say: unusually aggressive cancer. And that she likely only has a few weeks to live.
This week we will gather in my papa’s house and take turns driving over to my aunt’s just a few streets away. Over the next few days, my cousins from Arizona will be coming in, my dad is flying in from London, my sister and brother-in-law will meet me there on Wednesday.
The last time we all gathered like this was when my grandma died in 2019.
It’s important to me to be there while my aunt is still aware and able to communicate.
It’s important to me to be there for my papa and my uncles and my dad and my cousin Caitlin, my aunt’s daughter.
It’s important to me to be there for my other cousins and my sister, we were the closest to her in our childhood.
It’s important to me to be there for the happy reminiscing we will all share.
It’s important to me to be there for the sad truths and ugly cries we will all share.
It’s important to me to be there surrounded by our family because that what my aunt spent most of her life doing - keeping the family together, gathering as often as we could.
The nature of this trip is difficult, one of the many difficulties is that I do not have a date of return. The thing about hospice, some folks last days and some can last months. (My brother-in-law’s grandmother lasted two hours.)
I don’t know how much time, if any, I’ll have with her when I get there.
I don’t know what will happen when I get there.
I don’t know if one of my uncles will show up or not.
I don’t know if my dad has told my two youngest sisters yet.
I don’t know if there will be arguments or lashing out at one another.
I don’t know if I will cry or not.
I don’t know anything except death is inevitable.
We are only eight days into the new Gregorian calendar year.
I talked to my therapist on Friday how unfair this feels, that one of my aunts is dying and it’s happening in the first week of the new year.
Even though logically I know people die every day, on holidays, on special anniversaries, on other family members birthdays. (My great-grandma died the day before mine several years ago.)
Death comes for everyone and Death doesn’t care about our calendars.
This letter feels so disjointed and non-linear, but that’s kind of how my brain is at the moment. Processing death is weird, processing watching someone die is even more weird.
Also weird: I haven’t finished my coffee yet. I need to warm it up again. And then maybe have a little cry. Or distract myself from crying by cleaning. Who knows. It’s all weird.
Until next time,