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Hanging On

by Going Slowly

About a month ago, when the adventure of moving my mother's parents into assisted living and clearing out their house was finally nearing its end, we received a call from my dad's brother, informing us that my other grandmother was in the hospital—she'd had a small stroke. So, with a half-raw roasted chicken in the oven of my now-empty grandparents' house, all of us feeling like boxers out on our feet, we started packing for the drive back to my hometown.

As we gathered our things, a phone call to my dad's dad informed of us of the latest developments: my grandmother Marilyn, who had been on her way to a CAT scan just minutes prior, was having another stroke. This time, a major one. We could hear the doctors in the background, trying in vain to communicate with her.

She had lost the ability to speak, and the doctors were saying she would likely be paralyzed on one side. The news completely blindsided us. It was difficult to imagine that anything like this could happen to one of my healthy, vibrant, and hilariously eccentric grandparents.

Tara's Grandma Laughing Grandpa Telling a Story

It already felt like we (my parents especially, who have been steadfast troupers throughout this whole process) were running a gauntlet, trying to keep up with an unending stream of crises and major tasks to be completed. We shook our heads in dumbfounded horror; not her, not this, not now of all times for heaven's sake. Then, we sped for two and a half hours home.

The next few days were a roller-coaster ride; we had no clue what the future would hold. There were times when she seemed a million miles away, flirting with death, vacant and gone but for a shell of a body limped along by modern medicine. Other times, she would say a few words and light up when she saw us, moving her arms and legs as the doctors didn't think she'd be able to do.

Love Laughing Together Still

Amazingly, thanks to my grandmother's stubbornness, the palpable, visible love of my grandfather, and some incredible rehabilitation therapists, she recovered enough so that she was able to return home.

Welcome Home Flowers

A long and difficult road awaits, as she re-learns to speak and do countless other day-to-day activities that most of us take for granted. Though the journey is far from over, and her recovery comes with a whole host of very grave considerations and complications, we're happy to have her back. We love you, grandma!

Tyler Hugging Grandma
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Passing Away


Oh, I am so sorry to hear this but glad to know your grandmother recovered enough to return home.

I often wonder how you two are doing, navigating the intricacies of the present while also planning your future, and with health and family issues thrown in to boot. I hope you both are hanging in there, taking time for yourselves in the midst of work, family and everyday chaos.

Big Hugs.
Posted by Sheila on March 31st, 2012 at 5:12 PM
Thank you for your heartfelt and perceptive comment, Sheila.

As you know, it's been a stressful homecoming, but we're managing alight, and things are getting marginally better. We're doing okay, hanging in there, working our butts off, dreaming of our future lives, trying to appreciate the present moment, and trying to get our land paid off as fast as possible.

Hugs to you both as you navigate your own way through the crazy, exhausting, frustrating, magical, and deeply rewarding world of long term cycle touring. :-)
Posted by Tara on April 5th, 2012 at 4:24 PM