what it means to be alive
"This is life, this is what living is all about."
I found myself saying this phrase or something close to it on multiple occasions this week. This past week has held some crazy times for me. First of all, I'm not living at my place right now, for about the past 10 days I've been staying at the house of some friends' while new flooring is put into the place where I live. I feel like a bit of a refugee. Second of all, in the midst of this disruption to life, on Monday night my grandmother (my Mom's Mom) had a bad fall and hurt herself very badly. Her skull and several vertebrae fractured. For several days we were not sure if she would make it. About seven and a half years ago my grandfather on the same side fell too, had a terrible head injury, and never recovered. You can imagine how spooky it was for the family to have this similar event with grandma. She is recovering now, but it will be a long recovery, and there is no way to know for sure what a "full recovery" will look like for her.
It has been a huge thing for me to be able to go see her in the hospital in Chilliwack (1.5 hour drive away), to hold her hand, to listen to her snore, to stroke her back as she sleeps. She is a beautiful and incredibly strong person, so it is also difficult to see her in such a weak state.
My Mom is the eldest of seven siblings, and we are a very close family, but it has been a struggle to get through this very intense and stressful time together, another thing added on top of the multiplicity of stresses and strains that seven people plus their spouses and children are already under in regular day-to-day life.
And in the midst of all of this I have realized that this sort of thing is exactly what life is about. Life isn't about picture-perfect family gatherings and smooth sailing all the way. Life is messy, life is painful, life is maddening, life weighs heavily, life is tenuous. And then life is also beautiful: the sound of my grandmother's snoring, the touch of her soft hand, the big bear hug from an uncle, the beautiful honesty and truthfulness that comes in a plea for help. This is what it means to be alive, beautifully, joyously, painfully alive.