Monday, January 18, 2010

No place like home

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

This past weekend saw my temporary return to my mother's house. My grandmother is ailing, and I fear that her time may be short, so I seized the opportunity the long weekend provided and headed back...mainly to spend some time with her.

The plan was to see her Sunday afternoon for a spell, and then perhaps again on Monday, but it didn't work out that way. I was recruited to act as a shopping aid with my mom at the grocery store, which had the added bonus of her purchasing some items for me...things I normally don't have money for on my shoestring, university student budget. We made dinner together that night, trying out a new recipe, and it was an enjoyable and memorable experience...and the food was exceptional. I'd gotten in some good studying, which is rarely the case at my mom's because of all of the distractions (but I don't mind them at all), and I spent the rest of the evening watching television with her and reading more medical blogs. It's an obsession.

I had the rare opportunity to sleep in this morning and gleefully took it, only to wake up to discover that a day-long Mythbusters marathon was taking place for my sporadic viewing enjoyment throughout the day. If being a Mythbuster was a job from which I knew I could retire, I'm absolutely certain that I'd go that route instead of medicine. I'd probably go to PA school afterwords and have a good time of it until my end of days.

Visiting my grandmother (paternal...and the only remaining one I have) was an occasion more special than usual, for also in tow were my sister and my mother! My grandmother and mother hadn't really spoken nor seen each other since my parents divorced ten years ago. The last couple of times my grandma and I talked, she expressed interest in at least talking with my mom again, so I relayed the message each time, and my mom felt the same way. Since it was my mom who initiated the divorce proceedings, she felt a little awkward about keeping contact, and assumed that since my grandma hadn't made any attempts, that it was best to leave it at that. Of course, my grandma, the whole time, didn't want my mom to feel awkward by contacting her! Funny how things like that go.

It was a great time and my grandmother was in a great mood. She'd been sounding really bad on the phone, but looked and sounded like nothing in the world was wrong throughout our visit. It gave me hope (perhaps a false sense of) that cancer is not doing its dastardly deed within her. She should get her results back sometime this week. Fingers crossed.

While talking, I had one of those perfect, "I'm going to remember this always!" warm kind of moments. My grandma was talking about her life after marrying my grandfather (which she did directly after his return from WWII). They lived in a nice midwestern city, still Mayberry-enough that she could walk to work and back without fear of becoming any sort of victim. Only as an aside, she mentioned that it was oftentimes the case that, on her way to work, she'd wind up with a couple of dogs and children following her along her path. She said it was the sweetest thing and that the kids just loved to talk to her about her work, show her their favourite toys, and so on. She told this tale with such joy and all I could do was sit there beaming as I imagined the scene over and over. Cute.

Ah, also during that visit, as we first walked in I smelled the scent that, as a child, I associated with grandma (and at the time, grandpa's) house! I've smelled it time again in her new house, but hadn't really noticed it during the last few visits. I was pleased that it had returned.

After we got back to my mom's, I did my best to do some more homework, having fallen slightly behind in one course now, but it was no use. Dogs begging to get into my lap, almost immediately begging to get down, mom and I exchanging stories that neither of us have had time to share since my classes have, I gave in and watched some more Mythbusters as I ate half of the remaining batch of last night's dinner. I knew that in a few short hours, I'd be packing up again to head back to the apartment. I get a bit anxious and have a sense of dread each time I have to do that. For one, I never know what kind of shape I'll find the apartment in when I roommates are sloppy, although they've been really good lately. Let's hope it lasts. Also, and most importantly, it's just so hard to say goodbye to my mother. I'm really lucky to have her and realise that in just a few short years, I'll be hundreds, or probably thousands, of miles away. She's not getting younger. Should no major accidents occur, it'll be a really long while before she passes away...but still. Trying to imagine life without her is unbearable, and the thought has just now brought tears to my eyes.

I'm having a hard time with the idea of moving so far away, and only for my selfish reasons (in search of colder weather). I feel like I should stay within at least a hundred or so miles just to keep spending time with her. I don't want it to be a time of regret when she passes away...I want to feel like I maximised my time with her. But, then again, she'll have my soon-to-be stepfather, and they're planning on doing lots of travel after retirement (less than a decade from now! How strange a thought!) and I know they'd come and visit often, especially once (if) grandchildren appear on the scene! Ah, I don't know why I'm even thinking such things now. Still a ways off.

Right now, I have to focus on getting into medical school.

Quickly, while on the subject, I've added something else to my long list of back-up plans: PA school. I don't know why I never gave it much thought before, but in some ways, at least as I have had it explained to me, they have the upper hand against physicians. Less money one has to dole out for malpractice insurance, still great pay, less patients (less stress), a little more flexibility... I'd still apply to med school after PA school, though. I'm not sure when my cut-off point would know, that point at which I'd relinquish the MD dream and settle elsewhere.

I should just relax and float on down the river, to wherever it is the good Lord has seen fit to send me. Yes, that, I think I'll do.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

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