We're home from our trip, and I'm swinging on my big tire swing of emotion. Back & forth, back & forth, joyful & melancholy, triumphant & heartbroken. I had many nervous feelings about going out to visit my grandmother & extended family. My grandmother has Alzheimer's Disease, and is in a 'home'. I hate that term. We moved her there, against her will, 18 months ago. That alone tears me up inside, to have taken this strong, amazing woman out of her house and into a tiny apartment. It's wrong on so many levels, and I fight not to be angry with God about it. She was widowed twice, raised her four kids alone, put them all through college, served her church and her Lord faithfully all her life..... how can this be how she spends her final years God?
So right out of the gate, preparing to go out there is emotionally draining. Add to that a variety of factors, such as my inability to get to a meeting lately, which is making me crazy. The Man's schedule flipped shifts, so we're trying to regroup, and in the meantime there has just been too many things on the calendar to compete with. I need to put my sobriety first, and when my hands get tied I get very frustrated. I had printed a meeting list for the area where we'd be staying, and then forgot to pack it. This is also the area that I went to college in, and being out there brings up a lot of that baggage. I always think I am dealing with that time in my life in a healthy way, until I drive those roads, and memories flood in to drown me. I cannot adequately describe the sheer volume of alcohol that I consumed in those two years before they kicked me out. You probably wouldn't believe me if I could. Don't get me wrong, I drank plenty in the years after that, but those two years were where I did the most frequent binge drinking. (Oh! Binge drinking was something else I wanted to blog about later, mental note.)
Bear with me here, I know I'm getting a bit rambley.
The trip itself was really lovely: lots of good food, warm laughter shared with dear loved ones that I hardly get to see these days. We were out in the country, on my uncle's farm, eating eggs from his chickens and watching the snow fall. It was very good for the soul to sit with a cup of coffee and read a good book in the stillness. Gram was in good spirits, and happy to see us. I found myself constantly trying to form solid memories of each moment with her, knowing that even if she lives til the next time I can get out for a visit, she may no longer remember me by then. When I hugged her goodbye, I wondered if it would be for the last time. I almost hope that it was. I want for her to be at peace, and not have to wither away into a monster.
On the drive home I heard one of my favorite Alan Jackson songs on the radio, Remember When. When he sang, "Remember when old ones died and new were born" I found myself crying and rejoicing at the same time, knowing that my children will continue to bring me joy long after my grandmother is gone.
I have to trust God to give me the peace I need in my broken heart. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change....