Somewhere across this mountain range, he’s lying in a hospital bed. He could be injecting himself with a poison to end his life at this very moment. I’m driving as fast as I can in ice and snow, listening to a Tiësto trance remix to help keep my head. Not even an hour ago, I finished a video game where I killed myself to save my friends and loved ones. Five minutes later, I got the call that grandpa wanted to die.
Upset and near exhaustion, I barely gathered enough of myself to send an email to my professors and pack a bag. When I sat down in my car, all emotional strength left me. Tears were impossible to hold back. Grandpa wasn’t dead yet, but I was already grieving for him. I’d managed to more or less hold it together for two years, but I feel like I’m approaching my limits.
I went back to college two years ago to finish my degree, but for as long as I’ve been at school, my family has been falling ill. I’ve driven across this mountain pass at midnight dozens of times in the past 18 months. My oldest sister Katie had a baby, nearly died from lupus, and then her boyfriend was hit by a car, left with broken legs and back. My second oldest sister Jenny tore ligaments in her knee and shattered two bones in her leg. My mother had tumors which caused life-crippling ulcers that burned holes so large in her stomach, she was periodically drained of blood. My grandmother died in her sleep, which set my grandfather on a downward spiral, and a year later he is suffering from failing kidneys, liver and heart valve. Not necessarily in that order. Continue reading Unspoken Understanding