I know, I know, I’ve gone and done the disappearing act again. Well, let me put it to you this way. When I disappear for weeks at a time it’s usually because something big has happened, or I’m having another life shift (I’m really starting to get used to these).
So, my explanation for this disappearance is the very sad death of my dear 95 year old Nanna, and then another life shift. But first, my Nan.
Nan was a strong lady and one of my inspirational people, having raised 7 children and looked after her own parents during a period of no electricity, out on the farm, with no neighbours, while her husband worked all day. Yikes!! She had all her wits about her, though her body was weak, right up until the last week of her life. That was when she began the dying process.
In hindsight, Nan knew she was going long before she went. It was little things we’d all noticed over a period of time but never really put two and two together. The day she began having delusions and ended up in hospital we all realised that the inevitable had probably come.
I made it my goal to be there with Nan in hospital as much as possible over those 9 days. I don’t know why, but I wanted to be there to experience the process. I’m sure it sounds morbid, but all of a sudden I had this fascination with the whole dying process. Enough so that I decided to see what oh wise Google had to say about it.
Turns out there is an actual process and it begins a few months before actual death. There were stages that my Nan had been through, and it turned out that, according to several sources, Nan was in her final days of life. She went from being a normal, albeit slightly immobile old woman to being barely able to speak, unable to eat or swallow, and floating in and out of consciousness. All just like *that* (clicks).
And reading about the dying process really helped me understand and accept what was happening. This combined with my belief of what happens after death, I found all the information almost…comforting. Nan had been waiting for this day to come for a few years, I believe. I mean, what else do you do in a nursing home, really?
I knew that Nan was done, she was tired. We all knew it. She’d seen 19 grandchildren and 9 great-grand children. She’d seen her children born, get married and in some cases pass before her, as well as her husband. She’d spent the last 30 years of her life living on her own, and despite constant visits from her family that must have been a lonely life.
So, 9 days after being admitted to hospital, she died peacefully, on her own, in Werribee Hospital’s palliative care ward at 12:30am on Saturday 14th August. Just half an hour after Friday 13th. Although she’d not been alone the whole time she was in hospital, Nan chose a moment she was alone and at peace to leave this existence. Typical Nan, not wanting a fuss to be made.
It will take a while to get used to the fact that our family of 52 no longer has a leader, our Matriarch, or, as one cousin put it, The Don. Nan was behind every thought and action in this family, even if those thoughts and actions never came from her. She was an enormous inspiration to me, as I would often find myself complaining about parenting…like having cracked nipples when trying to breastfeed number two. When Nan told me she had years of constantly painful boobs from her never-ending breast feeding I shut the hell up and dealt with it.
As for the life change, during this period of Nan’s dying I was again questioning my own place in existence. I’d found alternative therapies, writing and PR but I didn’t quite feel…there yet. I hadn’t quite found my niche. While Nan was in hospital I spent a lot of time talking to my family, sometimes offering advice, sometimes just listening. At the same time, two of my friends were going through an incredibly rough time, and I found myself desperately wanting to help them, listening to their problems and offering advice where I could. And all of a sudden, it hit me. Counselling! That’s what I’ve been put here for, to help people through their life problems. I often find that people I’ve only just met are telling me their problems, so that even they don’t know why they’re doing it. I get this wonderful feeling from helping people, or even just being there for them when they need to vent. And so, as of next year, it’s back to school for me!
I feel so lucky that I’m in the position where I can follow all of my passions; writing, PR, photography, alternative therapies, and now counselling. I plan on making a big difference in this world, and I plan on using all of my skills to do this. I know I’ve found my niche finally, and I have to say, it’s a bloody good feeling.