Cafe Hitch-hike


Hang-time once again: Sister Rosepetal

Sending thoughts of wellness and protection to my youngest sister, Rosepetal, who is in ICU. Heck, the Catholic in me is also saying prayers and maybe even will pray a rosary later. Rosepetal had a high-risk pregnancy because of a blood clotting problem she had from fracturing her hip and femur in a car accident in 2012.

She had to have a surgical delivery which was very difficult. Afterward, they moved her into ICU because her heart was giving her trouble and her blood clots were getting worse.

I'm assuming she is in the river valley hospital where we all were born... Thankfully, it is an excellent facility. My hopeful side says it will be tough, but it will be all right, but another part acknowledges that sometimes modern medicine cannot trump the cycle of life and death.

It reminds me of that emotional hang-time when one just doesn't know what direction something will turn, especially in times like this. I'll never forget the tearful phone call I got one summer morning in 2008 from Uncle Joe who told me that Uncle Rico was in the hospital from a stroke, and the prognosis was not good at all.

In 2011 was the announcement that Uncle Cowboy, Aunt Juana's husband, was in the hospital, only to die 3 days later.

2012... Grandpa. The tattoo I have on my hip was an impromptu decision, and it was done on May 5. He had a major stroke that day, and in a coma for the next 7 days. Which way was that going to go?

The hang-time I describe is like limbo. I just didn't know what was going to happen, and all that could be done was to wait. It could turn out ok. Uncle Rico had a gradual but miraculous recovery from the stroke although he had a 10% or less chance of surviving. No one knew what was going to happen with Uncle Cowboy. However, with Grandpa, I had a feeling it was the end. I talked with my friend who was a geriatrics nurse, and she pretty much said it wasn't a matter of 'if' but 'when' he'd pass away from the sounds of his condition.

Then, there was Remy. In some respects, I felt like a bitch because I had a feeling the last time was not looking good at all. I felt very concerned about Remy's condition, and I held off from panicking or reacting because it just didn't seem logical to spin my wheels that way, and also, Remy wouldn't had wanted for me to do that. His whole philosophy was 'it is what it is,' and I kind of believed him.

I had no idea of what was going to happen to Remy, but when the complications lined up, I had to shake my head, and just wait and be there for him.

Right around my birthday last year was Grandma Lina. It was the same thing of not-knowing. My friends and I scheduled a weekend to Key Largo for my birthday. My Texas relatives assured me to go anyway and not worry about what was happening... The whole thing was extremely difficult for my aunts and uncles, and especially for my mother.

In some ways, I quietly smirked and thought to them, "welcome to what I had to handle with my birth father, except things were complicated and I was 17 years old!"

Hang-time. Now I'm in hang-time with my kid sister, the one who was born when I started 8th grade. She's now in the situation where things could go either way. I'm thinking about my memories and relationship with her, and her troubled teen and adult years. I thought of the poor decisions she made, and I also thought about my very own presence in her life. She once angrily said to me, "you left me!" I knew exactly what she meant, and I have my regrets, but also knew I had to live my life. The forces of our family were way too powerful for me to overcome.

Not long ago, I recalled that I missed her wedding after she abruptly cancelled and then rescheduled it. She was pissed at me for it, but she seemed to understand after I told Mom that I paid for a plane ticket and couldn't get another or the time off to go.

I have this feeling, once again, of a forced acceptance. No point in crying, what's done is done. I can't reverse or change what had been done, or what had been set in motion. Mankind does not have that kind of power over nature and most likely never will. When medicine can improve and lengthen the lives of others, that is good and well, but when it cannot, why are we so shocked and surprised? It's led me to a very stoical sense of that nature will still take what is rightfully hers.

I can thank my step-father for planting that seed. When he and my mother talked about the birds and bees with me when I was 8, he added that part. "It's nature," he concluded.

I can relate to the bonds that are broken and the losses that are experienced, not to mention the wake of grief from losing a precious person. I suppose the whole process of grief is grasping a sense of acceptance towards what cannot be changed or controlled. I say 'grasping' because sometimes people cannot embrace the acceptance but do have a hold every so often.

When I was visiting a cathedral 2 years ago with Rene, its gift shop had just closed its doors. The droll, elderly woman repeated it was closed, and I choked up.

"I just wanted to get a prayer votive," I said softly. "It was for my sister."

The woman went back inside and gave me a votive. I handed her a dollar for it, but she refused it. I prayed around Christmas of 2016 that Rosepetal would be all right. She was in and out of the hospital that month because of her blood clotting condition. Now, that whole thing is set back in motion.

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