The Highline Canal is a long trail sided next to a creek throughout Denver’s southside suburbs, 71 miles to be exact. It connects different cities together through the paved and unpaved walking trail, lining itself with cottonwood trees and bushes as tall as we were. Although the purpose of the highline canal was to provide irrigation through the man-made waterway, it was dry most of the time. For us, it didn’t provide irrigation; it provided recreation.
My brother and I walked through the winding roads of our quaint neighborhood, a brand-new development built on the borders of the sacred greenery of the Highline Canal. Scratch that- the yellowry of the Highline Canal. We walked up the dirt hill to reach the yellow sticks and the leafless trees that grew along the trail until we found a denseness that suited us.
Rewind one year. Mom and dad would drive my brother and I to the spot where our new house was being built. We got out of the car, onto the future street on which we would live, and looked at the giant, square hole in the ground. Dirt. Everywhere.
They told us, “This is where our house will be. It will be painted blue, and have a red door.” I tried to imagine what my new house would look like. I thought it was strange that our house would have a red door, this color yelled anger at me, which is how I felt about moving from the home I’d known my whole short life. My life, as I knew it, was being displaced. Into a neighborhood I didn’t know. Into a school I didn’t know. With the people that were forcing my displacement.
Fast forward. To the denseness. To the foliage. To the nature, which belonged to my brother and I, alone. Once we found the perfect spot, a little opening within the branches, within the sticks and the grass, we built our home. Our home was here, not in the blue house with the red door. Here, we could imagine our own spaces and create our own niches. Here, we made the rules and decided who we wanted to be. It might have been different day to day. I was usually a mother, cooking dinner for the family in the patch of small twigs near the center of our home. I had on my pretend oven and pretend oven mitts. Other days I was a teacher, ordering my brother to sit at his desk, a little spot in the corner amongst the grass. I put on my pretend glasses and taught out of my little blue notebook, telling my brother to take notes.
When we got bored of our home, we would go on an exploration journey on the trail to find another one. Sometimes we’d get distracted by the creatures we’d see. Once we came upon a turtle, which my brother named Speedy. He was our comrade for a day or two, until we lost him and found a new comrade to replace him, like our pretend pet that would follow us around. We found walking sticks one day and became original Settlers of the land. The Highline Canal was ours, and ours alone. Anyone we saw walking or running on the trail simply didn’t exist to us, for it was our world, and we made it fit what we needed it to be. Our home.
The first time I heard this saying, I was at work when I was the only cashier, and all of a sudden a million people got in line at once. I probably looked extremely overwhelmed, and the customer I was currently with looked sympathetically at me and said, “when it rains it pours.” I had to think about it for a second, but I got it.
Ever since then, I’ve been realizing how true this is to my life. When something bad happens, all of a sudden everything else that could go bad seems to do so.
A couple years back, I was going through a horrible break-up. I was also in the middle of moving to a different location, and my grandma and great grandma were going through nursing homes and health issues. My life became so stressful and overwhelming that I had to withdraw from that semester at school. I’m still dealing with the consequences of missing that semester at school, since it set me back. And I’m still emotionally hardened at times with the break up. Things looked up a little after that, and it was definitely a good learning experience for me.
Current times are reminding me of those times. The passing of my grandmother is very tough for me and my family, especially my mom since she was her only daughter. During this last month full of hospitals, nursing homes, and a death, I’ve also been going through another break-up. He didn’t seem to be that sympathetic to me, and he didn’t seem to get it through his head that my family takes first priority for me. Today it was finalized because I told him I couldn’t go to a movie last minute. I told him I needed to work on myself during this time, and if he couldn’t support me in that, then I couldn’t continue working on the relationship. So he pretty much wrote me off, with words of “nice knowing ya” and “bye.” It broke my heart, but maybe it’s for the best. He will probably never speak to me again, since he told me once that he never stays friends with exes. He blocked me from facebook too, which is probably another good thing because otherwise I’d be tempted to see what he’s doing. It’s just so hard to think that I’ll never have any kind of a relationship with this person who had part of my heart ever again.
I guess I just need to look at the positives out of this pouring rain.
My grandma is in her eternal, heavenly home no longer suffering.
There’s a better person out there for me that will be sensitive to my needs and priorities.
Now I just need to get my $h!t together; get back on track with school, save my money to move out and be independent, probably by finding another job, and continue working on myself- my happiness, faith, health, sobriety, etc. You have to love yourself first before you can love someone else.
On another positive, random note, my wonderful friend, and friend of my grandma’s, cut my hair today for free! And I did the “wild ombre” dye job to my hair. I feel refreshed with this new look. And I start work again tomorrow. 🙂
She passed today around 12:30pm.
The lingering is over.
She’s in her eternal home.
Thank you for all your support in this difficult time.
“Whatever we focus on, we give power to. “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” [Colossians 3:2] Take your eyes off the negative and you will dis-empower it. If you are wounded and offended, it proves your old nature is still alive. The best way to keep it dead is to live in the new nature of ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’.”
You’ve been here for over a week. You’ve barely had anything to drink, and nothing to eat. I don’t know how you are still breathing. Today, Maureen Daily came in and sang hymns for you that you love. She has such a beautiful voice. I was laying in the pull-out bed, and couldn’t sit up. But I was listening the whole time, while mom sang along with her and you seemed to sing along too.
Brad also came by to see you. He’s been such a good friend of yours. It’s hard for him to go to a hospice, because his wife died in one. He is still depressed about that. But you gave Brad the joy and comfort he needed after his wife passed. You were a blessing to him, and I know he appreciates that more than you can know.
Leigh brought your friend, Trudy today as well. I’m not sure how close you guys were, but she said some very kind things to you, and about you. You’ve had so many visitors and phone calls and people that don’t want to see you go.
Grandma, you’ve always been so strong. Relentless even. The doctors said you were going to die six months ago because of liver failure, even though you’re not a drinker. But you came back from that, a miraculous recovery. You were doing so well, walking around, with and without your walker. You even bought a new car! A Subaru of course. I know you’re strong, but grandma, it’s time to let go. Mom and I have been spending the night ever since you entered the hospice. I came home to sleep one night after work. And I had to come home tonight.
I feel bad for leaving mom alone. But I think tonight is the night. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay there. I had to do this for me. I said my goodbyes, and you heard them, I know. But if you go tomorrow, that’s okay too. Easter Sunday. The 31st. Just like G.G. who died on January 31st a year ago. If you’re still there tomorrow, I’ll come. But if you’re not, I know where you’ll be.
I’m so tired. Exhausted. Mom, your only child, has been there with you this whole time. I can only imagine how she’s feeling. I had to call work and let them know I couldn’t come in this morning. I thought you’d be gone by then. But you’re still breathing. We’re thinking the funeral’s going to be on Friday.
Let go Grandma, Please, let go. Go gently into that goodnight. Don’t rage against the dying of the light. You don’t need to suffer anymore. You don’t need to sustain these worldly problems on your shoulders anymore. Just think of the relief.
I love you, grandma. I’ll be singing for you tomorrow.