What I’ve learned through a summer of loss.
This summer has been one of the lowest points of my life. Now, I have led a pretty great life these past 25 years, but this summer has been tough.
I share this because I want this blog to be an accurate reflection of my life. I think it would be easy to tune in each Wednesday and believe that my life is perfect. I travel, I read, I learn, I explore, and so on. And while that is all true, it is important to remember that those are the tidbits of my life that I most share.
So today I want to touch upon the other side of the coin. We all have low points, ones cast in a cloudy darkness, and the Summer of 2017 has been mine.
I was extremely excited to spend a summer with my family, but especially with my brother as we have lived in different states our entire adult lives. Needless to say, expectations were the enemy of reality.
Within a week of my arrival, my brother left on a month and a half flight expedition throughout the US. I viewed his pictures of Niagara Falls, the Gateway Arch, and Ground Zero with a resigned sigh, realizing the three months I envisioned together would be closer to three weeks.
25 was a hard birthday for me. I’ve been feeling a little Benjamin Button the last few years. By 23, I had been out of college for three years, was earning a salary over $60,000, and had been living with my then-boyfriend for three years. But by 24, I was single, unemployed, living at home, and gearing up to go back to school. Now, at 25, all I want is to travel, lessen my belongings, and find some direction. And while much of this feels authentic, it also feels extremely backwards. So that number – that 25 – doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t accurately reflect how I feel or how I act.
Right as I was turning 25 and this quarter-life crisis was hitting me hardest, I felt unsupported by one of my closest friends. Without reason, explanation, or warning, things shifted. An unspoken understanding that things were different.
That same week, my grandmother was diagnosed with Leukemia and possibly lung cancer. This diagnosis was soon over shadowed by her dementia, the same thing that reduced her husband down to so little many years ago. My grandfather has not known who I am for five years and it seems my grandmother is on that same path.
Her onset has been incredibly fast. Since August, my grandmother has been the victim of a scam, been in two car accidents, and ran a red light. Before we could fully process her physical diagnosis, we were battling her loss of cognitive reasoning. Our days, weekends, and dinner conversations were filled with scrambled attempts to prepare for what we had done just years before with my grandfather. In the span of less than 20 days, we have had to protect my grandmother’s money, strip her of her ability to drive, and find her a live-in caregiver.
As all of this was taking place, my grandfather began to fade. His dementia was so pronounced he forgot how to swallow. He passed in his sleep August 20th, one month after his 84th birthday. He is the first grandparent I have lost.
And to top it all off, our President is an asshole.
This has been a hard summer for me. Full of loss. Loss of loved ones, loss of close friends, loss of direction, loss of career fulfillment, and loss of time.
But it has been an extremely reaffirming summer. Everything – everything – was telling me to be home for this summer. I felt it in my gut so completely months ago in Oregon. And now I know why. To be able to spend three weeks with my brother, which is so much more than we have had in a long time. To be able to support my grandmother, family, and parents. To be able to see which of my friends truly support me. To be able to say goodbye to my grandfather.
Do you believe things happen for a reason? Let us know below.