Thursday, April 12, 2012

Expansion Ahoy!

Imperial caterpillar

Friends! I did something semi-bold yesterday. I spent two and a half hours in the morning volunteering at The St. Louis Area Foodbank!

Why is this a big deal? Because, it involved going someplace I'd never been before, talking to strangers and being stuck with them for a few hours. The last time I did any volunteering was for the CineVegas film festival in 2006, and that was a mostly selfish endeavor. It was also easier since I'd been there the year before and knew a lot of the returning volunteers/staff, and, you know, it's Vegas. There's no shortage of stuff to talk about with strangers.

This was different, and I must say, I aced it! I worked my ass off packing and unpacking donations. I also spent my time working with a nice retiree named Fred from Memphis. We talked! I socialized with people I'd never seen before! I got out of the house for something other than errands! I helped people! Yay!

Our volunteer group actually finished early because we worked so efficiently. At the end of our shift the volunteer manager left hand outs that listed our stats. We processed 8,811 pounds of food which translates to 7,193 meals for the hungry. Isn't that cool? I'll definitely be back.

I signed up through VolunteerMatch on Monday for this gig and also contacted a couple of other places (a no-kill animal shelter and a not-for-profit news site) about volunteering for them, also. I like this. I get to help others and myself at the same time. If I weren't so chicken around strangers I would have done this much sooner!

What have you done lately that you loved enough to wish you'd done sooner?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

That's How It Goes

HUBS' grandfather has liver cancer. In one week he went from being basically fine to not really recognizing his family. Since he's 91 years old (his birthday is actually in a couple of weeks) and the cancer wasn't found until it was very far along, there's no treatment that wouldn't make things much worse for him. Right now his family is just trying to keep him comfortable.

On Easter, HUBS and I met his parents at the house Grandaddy G shares with HUBS' uncle. We had the annual Easter dinner there without any of the usual fanfare. It was just us five around the table eating as his Grandaddy G rested in the hospital bed that hospice workers brought for him.

When we were about to eat dessert, a priest came to give him last rites. Apparently he was just coherent enough to follow what was going on and mouth responses at the appropriate times, but I didn't notice this. I was too busy trying not to cry, especially once HUBS' mom teared up.

I know how important that is to Catholics. Part of me was afraid that whatever is keeping Grandaddy G here would have its hold loosened by the rites and he'd die soon after. I've never seen anyone or thing that was significant to me or a loved one die. Not my grandmother, uncle, cousin or even Luanne. I was slightly terrified of being around for that. And so was HUBS.

There was a moment on Saturday when his parents had called and said Grandaddy G was doing badly and we should come over then, just in case he didn't make it to Easter. HUBS didn't want to go. He didn't want to be part of a death vigil; watching his beloved grandfather (his last grandparent, by the way) slowly fade away while he and the rest of us did nothing, because there was nothing we could do.

He also didn't want to know he might die and not try to get there to see him one last time. HUBS was torn. To the point where it, this horrible situation that many of us will come to at some point, made him angry. I told him he didn't have to go. I told him not to think about what his parents, sister, cousins, uncles or anyone else might say to him if he decided not to go. What was important was that he'd be able to look back on this day, and be alright if Grandaddy G died and he decided not to be there.

As we got ready to leave Saturday, he called his parents back and found out that his grandfather was doing much better. Well enough that his mom told us not to worry about the two hour drive that night, but to wait until Sunday as was originally planned. HUBS was clearly relieved.

Yesterday, his parents and uncle moved Grandaddy G into a nursing home in their small Mid-Missouri town. The same one that has taken care of two of HUBS' other ailing grandparents once the family couldn't care for them anymore. HUBS came home from work feeling tired, ignored, frustrated, disrespected...Sadness makes everything bad feel worse.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Music Monday: Take Care

Well, this was a decidedly different kind of Easter for us. It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be, but it wasn't exactly a ton of laughs, either. I'll explain more tomorrow.

I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend. We took a little trip on Friday, which I'll talk about later in the week. Today, though, it was hard to completely concentrate on anything. I did manage to sign up for a couple of volunteering projects through Volunteer Match, one of which is this Wednesday, so I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Now, let's relax a bit, shall we?


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