Monday, February 16, 2009

Finally, the rest of the story!


I know it’s been a long time since my last post. And I left that one hanging! It’s been hard, because I have so much to say, yet I want to live in the present, too. However, something happened that kind of ties it all together, and I need to write to get it out.

So, warning, warning, warning, this post may be even longer than usual;-)

On Friday, January 30, 2009, just after 12:00 a.m., my grandmother passed away. Earlene L. Vogel was born January 10, 1920, and had spent the last three years of her life in a nursing home, bedridden. While she did have her mind until the last week, she certainly didn’t have much quality of life. Her hands and feet were too twisted to allow her to do anything. It had to have been especially hard, because she’d always been the sort of person who could never sit still. I’ve said many times that she was Martha Stewart before Martha. She was so clean and organized, and she cooked, baked, gardened, and crocheted beautifully. She took care of her husband and raised two children – one was my mom:-)

Sadly, though, she was not a happy person, and I don’t believe she ever really liked herself. Returning to California gave us the opportunity to find out things we never knew. The only thing I will say here is that my grandmother had a really bad childhood, and came from a generation where such things were not discussed. We only found out through my grandfather shortly before he passed last year. It was so sad to learn, but offered some insight into her world. I wish we’d been able to learn more…

From late December 2003 until early January 2008, we had no insight to my grandparents’ world. Prior to our becoming homeless, communication had broken down with our family. We honestly felt like we’d become too much of a burden, so when no one stayed in touch, we just accepted it. We were in such a bad place at that time, and it seemed like no one cared.

Over the course of the following four years, that feeling was reinforced. I know that sounds strange, since we made no attempt to contact anyone. However, on December 29, 2003, before disconnecting my computer on our last night in our home, I wrote one final e-mail. I sent this e-mail to my father (whom I’d previously had some contact with, but haven’t seen in 25 years) and to my uncle (my mom’s brother). It was a goodbye e-mail, and it was to the point, as we would be heading off alone to parts unknown the following day. It wasn’t meant to be hateful, but rather to let out some of the hurt in my heart towards a family that had never been able to communicate. I actually still have it – I’ve always kept it as proof that although it really was goodbye, I did try to reach out one last time.

I have had my main e-mail address since 1999. So, both my mom and I thought that if anyone ever truly wanted to find us, they would at least try the e-mail to see if it was still active. No one ever did. My grandparents didn’t have a computer, but I figured my uncle would try if they wanted him to. Of course, we had the mistaken assumption that he'd told them about the e-mail I sent.

Anyways, the closest I came to contacting my grandparents was when my mom was hospitalized in 2006, and underwent emergency open heart surgery. She didn’t want me to. You want some irony? My grandmother went into the nursing home in March 2006, while my mom was back at home recovering. Although technically my mom had infectious endocarditis (another long story), I always said that her illness was caused by a broken heart. Odd and sad to find out that my grandmother was in decline at the same time…

Fast forward to the end of 2007:

Every once in a while I would try an internet search just to see if I could determine if my grandparents were still alive. We were very lonely, and although we were resigned to never being in contact again, it still hurt. So, late December 2007, I typed my grandmother’s name in a general search on Yahoo (vs. just a people search). Amazingly, it brought up an obituary for her brother, who had just passed – my grandmother was listed as a survivor.

I shared it with my mom. It was such an unexpected find! Of course, that started us thinking about my grandparents. My mom and my grandmother shared the same birthday. My mom debated whether or not to send a card. She finally felt she should, and asked me about whether or not to add a return address. I grabbed the envelope from her and wrote it on:-)

We had no expectations, though I know there was hope we might hear back. We were blown away to receive a card from my grandfather in a very short time. He was soooooooooo happy to hear from us!!! It makes me cry all over again to remember. He sent photos, too. He gave us a huge shock when he let us know that grandma was in a nursing home – the photo of her was so hard to see. He asked us to please call.

We did. It was, as you can imagine, very emotional. It turns out that they’d been looking for us for a long time, even hiring a detective at one point. Yet they were never told about the e-mail I sent, never given that avenue to try to reach us…

So, I believe the miracle part of this started when I found that notice on the internet I mentioned above. It continued when we sent the card and heard back. The next part is where it’s truly amazing to me.

If you’ve read my last lengthy post, you’ll recall that we were running out of time to find some place to live. We were desperately searching in our town for a place – desperate doesn’t do too well in helping you;-) Nothing was happening.

Imagine our shock when my grandfather said how he wished we could come and be there with him. He was so lonely, too. With my grandmother in the home, there was a room for us (with two twin beds, even).

We gave it a lot of thought, and in the end, decided it really would be the best move for all of us. Not easy, but right and good. Maybe it wasn’t too hard, though, because we’d really wanted to reconnect and we’d also really wanted to leave the remote area we’d been living in. We were just as frustrated by the whole living situation as the friend I mentioned in the last post that went back to Washington. Because I am ready to move forward, I’ve intentionally left a lot out about the time in Kanab, and my work experience. It was what it was, and if nothing else, I certainly learned a lot! :-)

Now, it’s 2009, and the past year has been a whirlwind. My grandfather became seriously ill and passed away on April 12, 2008, due to kidney failure and bladder cancer. It was a huge shock, because he was the “well” one. Without my grandmother at home, though, we don’t think he was taking care of himself. He didn’t know how – she’d always done everything for him.

After my grandmother passed, I said to my mom that if I’d known that this would be the course of events after we came here, I wouldn’t have moved; that was my grief speaking. In all honesty, I truly appreciate the time we had – the blessing of reconnecting. We didn’t have nearly enough time, yet the time we had was enough to get to know each other again. Most importantly, we all were able to tell each other, “I love you.”

This is so long, yet it barely covers a fraction of the story. If you got to the end of all this, I applaud and appreciate you:-) If not, that’s fine, too. It’s my story, and it may not interest everyone. It’s been so incredible these last few years, and I wanted to document some of it. I’m working on living in the now, but I can also see how the past has molded me. Learning about the Law of Attraction has really helped me see how and why some of what happened did. I believe in miracles, but I’m also learning better how they come to be through each of us.

Peace, love, and joy,
Erica