Death Stalks the Family

My husband’s grandfather suffered a fall over the summer and broke his hip. This was the last straw for the family, who had long been considering trying to talk the grandparents into leaving the ranch in the middle of nowhere Colorado and relocate them in a real city. The fall was a precipitating event because the grandmother is having some memory issues and doesn’t drive, so with his hip broken they were stranded out there.

And so, a month long trip by my mother in law later, they were resettled in a very nice but pricey assisted living home.

About a month ago, grandpa got pneumonia. He was recovering nicely, but it was still concerning because if he required too much care then he would have to move to a nursing home and grandma would have to go too, they don’t want to be apart.

And then, as he was about to be released from the hospital, he had a massive stroke and the doctors moved him not to his assisted living facility but rather to hospice.

My mother in law went up there with the unemployed brother and they waited it out.

He passed on Saturday night.

We’ve been sitting here, thinking about funeral plans and the amount of paid leave the husband has left after using so much on it for the baby, for the past week.

In that time, my uncle very unexpectedly died. He dropped dead, literally dropped dead–they say he was dead before he hit the floor–of a heart attack.

Considering that my blood pressure never really got back to its stellar place after the preeclampsia, this is not especially reassuring.

I wasn’t close to my uncle–I believe I met him twice–and so I feel no personal distress about this situation. Nor was I close to my husband’s grandfather. I met him once and we had to keep the fact that I was Jewish on the down low because he was an anti-semite, but otherwise apparently a lovely person.

I feel a bit like Moaning Myrtle (“just sitting here thinking about death”) but it’s been an alarming week over here.

I feel guilty when people die, because I don’t feel particularly excited about life and frequently wish I was not alive. And so it feels wrong for people who liked being alive and wanted to be alive to be taken from the world while I keep eking out a pitiful existence.

At least I have the baby, who makes me happy with his smiles and his persistent awesomeness. But I live in terror of his upcoming surgery. My luck is never this good, my karma is never this good, and I’m due for something terrible. I very much fear he’ll die on the table.

It’s ridiculous–it’s a minor surgery, it’s outpatient, his surgeon is the chief of surgery at the children’s hospital and should certainly be fine doing a minor surgery–but it’s something I can’t stop worrying about.

Meanwhile, I have to just hope that Death is satisfied with the harvest our family has provided this week and leaves us alone for a while.


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