Saying Good-bye to Bobo

In my grand life experiment of n=1, where I am my own n, managing stress and loss is my Achilles heel.  September 11, 2011 was the day I really wrapped my head around a true Paleo lifestyle and was able to experiment and taste test and figure out what worked best for me... all the way up to March 19, 2012.  It was mostly smooth sailing here in Rosamond, CA.  I was finishing school, taking mini-vacays with my travel buddy hubby, preparing for the holidays and just giving thanks for each day.  I rocked out two successful Whole30's before the end of Q1-2012 and was packed and on my way to PaleoF(x) in Austin, Texas.  I was on such a high!

On March 19, I lost my grandma.  My dad's mom.  I called her Baba.  Being back in Massachusetts opened a flood of childhood memories, so many of which were tied to food.  I mourned with Matt through cannolis, lobster rolls, and crispellis.  I was able to slowly steer my way back through April and May and completed another Whole30 in June.  June.  The month I caught an emergency flight back home to be with my mom while she had a heart catheterization. 

Good news for Mom!  And bad news for my other grandma, Bobo.  My mom's mom.  My 96 year-old grandmother has been living in an assisted living facility outside of Dallas for a few years.  She is in good health, feisty and full of fire, and has a spirit that will fight 110% until there is no fight left.   

I won't get into the details of the less than loving relationships that Bobo developed in her 96 years, but it is important to understand that actions and words of the past have created an exceptional amount of distance between my grandmother, my mother, and ultimately me.

Within a week of Mom receiving her "all-clear", she also received news that Bobo was deteriorating.  The pain in her back and hips was getting worse and instead of insisting she didn't want my mom around at all, she was now asking for her.  The emotional change in my grandmother and the impact on my mom was a difficult process to watch... I knew the countdown clock had been punched and what I was yet to experience would not be an easy ride.

I started filling my days with sleeping, snacking, or traveling with Matt when he'd go out of town for work.  As long as my brain was occupied, I didn't have to hear about or think about the situation going on back in Dallas.  In conversations with Mom, I could hear Bobo in the background crying - for pain medicine, for water, for attention of any kind.  I'm an only child and I couldn't help but fret over the emotional and physical toll that was being taken on my mom.

In August, I traveled back home.  To be with Mom.  To visit with Bobo.  It was a very short, highly intense trip.  Little sleep, bad eating patterns, and elevated emotions.  I watched Bobo range from sad and scared to frustrated and angry to calm and sedate, sometimes all within the same day.  Within a week of returning to California, I received a phone call that Bobo had fallen out of bed and broke her hip.

I cried the whole day.  A broken hip in a 96 year old woman?  I felt like my grandmother's death warrant had just been signed and dated.  I couldn't be sure of the outcome, but was certain that this increasingly frail 96 year old woman would not survive surgery and the only painful option was to let her bleed internally and let nature take its course.  In the past four days, Bobo has gone from a coherent fiery grandma to a comatose elderly woman stuck somewhere in her own nightmares, crying and talking to family from her past.

My mom has been sitting by her side each day, her hand extended for Bobo to hang on to with such a firm grip that it is clear she fears what is coming next.  And all the while, I sit on the other end of the phone talking, listening, and praying.  I feel helpless and numb and all I can do is reach for the garbage that will take my mind away from Dallas... who drinks two glasses of Disaronno with five cherries in the middle of the afternoon?  This girl.  Because it's all I can do to actually fall and stay asleep.

It has been and continues to be a tough year.  I'm blessed that the first big losses in my life didn't happen until I was 33, but why do they ALL have to happen when I'm 33?  I'm learning a lesson this year.  And I know that my fridge full of vegetables and grass-fed beef and organic chicken will be waiting for me when I pull myself together.  For now, I need to learn how to become much better at managing stress and coping with loss and losses to come.

When the countdown clock stops ticking, there'll be another Massachusetts trip on the docket and lobster rolls won't be in season.  This time I'll work harder to face my feelings head on.  My soft underbelly raw and exposed while say good-bye to Bobo one last time.

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