Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mea Culpa

Today it would seem everywhere I look I find things to feel guilty about.  First and foremost is the plight of Aunt Zelda.

On Thanksgiving day, just as I was up to my elbows in the dressing that was an abysmal failure, my husband decided to call his 101-year-old aunt so we could wish her a happy Thanksgiving.  I wanted to ask if we could wait until the next day when the cooking frenzy was over, but I didn’t. 

Everyone but me talked to her, with the conversations going on for at least a half hour.  She sounded great.  She was lucid.  She recognized everyone.  She listened to what was going on in our children’s lives.  But I kept cooking.  The thought that this could be the last time I ever talked to her flitted across my mind, but I kept cooking.

Just yesterday afternoon right about the time I threw away the rest of the failed dressing, we learned that she had been found unconscious in her room and was taken to a Chicago hospital.  Today it has become clear that she may have suffered a stroke from which she will never wake up.  Her life may end when the breathing machine is turned off.

I have once again been reminded that there are some things worth taking a break for, whatever the cost.  I probably missed my chance forever, just because I wanted to stay on schedule for Thanksgiving dinner. 

I won’t even bother to share my other guilt, saying only that it is also family related. 

Even a yoga class didn’t seem to make me feel better.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, B, I'm so sorry to hear about Zelda, and that you're feeling guilty about your choice. Can I gently suggest a "re-frame" to 'regretful'? You chose at a somewhat stressful time to stay present with the people and task at hand, which seems like a healthy option. Blech -- the heartache of "if-only!"

I'm glad Zelda took in so much love and warmth on Thanksgiving. Please be gentle with yourself. XO to you and David,


2:32 PM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

My best to you and yours.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Aunt Zelda. Don't be so hard on yourself though - it sounds like she had lovely and lengthy phone conversations with the rest of your family and I'm sure that she understood and appreciated the fact that you staying in the kitchen made it possible for them to talk a little longer.

10:21 PM  
Blogger lacochran said...

Zelda knows you love her. No guilt required.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

If the last time I talked to people were the last time I talked with them, I wouldn't have such lovely conversations with them in my head. I talk to Terry and Pat Honey constantly.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Guilt is only useful if it helps you to change whatever you've done to feel guilty. Once you've grieved your choice and vowed to do better, let the guilt go... it sounds as though Aunt Zelda had plenty of happy and loving conversations so you can be happy about that for her sake. Sending you a virtual hug.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

You recently visited Zelda, so I don't think you have anything to feel guilty about -- but I know that doesn't make it any easier.

5:01 PM  

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