Although I’ve had a hard time and cried a lot since Nana died, I’ve never felt like my life was bad or somebody was out to get me or anything like that. I even said I was thankful the kidney stones came the day after my daughter’s birthday party and grateful I was recovered enough from my surgery to spend Nana’s last good day with her before she passed.
I’ve been practicing being more optimistic about what could and would happen in my little world — more like I was when I was young and believed the glass was half-full and filled with something way more delicious than water.
Whenever I started down my worst-case scenario-is-totally-going-to-happen, I stop myself and say: Let’s picture the best thing happening — everything going great. And I would. I usually added a little prayer not to make the best scenario come true but to help me believe in the best.
Anyway, I’m shocked it worked, but I’ll take it with a glass of lemonade please.
PS. I wrote this right before my follow-up urology appointment where we confirmed I’m passing another kidney stone. This one seems smaller or at least not ER-painful, but I kind of lost my positive outlook for a few hours and replaced it with I’M SO PISSED and WHY IS GOD SO PUSHY? I’m feeling better now.
My Nana passed away last week. She was a light in my life, and I miss her terribly. I wrote this for her funeral, and since she harassed me more than most about not writing regularly on my blog, I am posting it here as well. Please excuse any typos and grammar errors. I was so upset that I had to dictate the first draft and editing hasn’t been much easier.
For you, Nana.
I had a hard time coming up with what to say because Nana is such a special person. I didn’t know how to put it all in words. In fact, when I found out she had terminal cancer, I told her: “I know people often say you had a good life, you got to be in the planet for a long time and see amazing things, but, Nana, I’m never going to feel like I’ve had enough time with you. I’ll never think it’s enough.” Even my kids chimed in to say they wished Nana could be the oldest person in the world.
My first memory of Nana is not my memory at all — Nana has just told the story so many times that I can picture it in my head: a little two-year-old spending a month in Dallas, Texas with her grandparents. Nana was driving and I reached out to her friend in the passenger seat and said, “You have such beautiful hair.” And her friend was so overjoyed at my compliment.
What I love about this story and why feel like it embodies Nana so much is that Nana really didn’t have anything to do with it. She didn’t give or receive the compliment. She was just driving the car. But she loved to tell the story because she loved that I was kind. She loved to tell the story because she loved how good I made her friend feel. And those of the stories Nana told about all of us. What highlighted our kindness, our love, and our ability to love others.
This is what I think made Nana so special — she believed in the best in everyone and she was humble enough to not believe that she knew what was best for everyone. On occasion, she would come to me upset or concerned about something I was doing. Or you were doing. Or you. Or you. And I would explain how and why it would be ok and what I thought God thought about it and what modern life it like now. And she would pat my leg and say, “I knew there was a good reason, dear. Now I understand.” And that was it — she was on board. That’s what I loved about her — she wanted the best for us. And she wanted to be convinced we could find it.
She put relationship over being right every time. A good friend of mine will always ask me when I’m fussing over something: “Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?” And 9 times out of 10 I’d rather be happy. (I do have a lot of pride.) But Nana lived this saying. It’s not easy to make that choice every day or every month or every year. It’s easier to become bitter. It’s easier to get angry. It’s easier to hate. But in looking back over her life we can see how amazing it is to choose to believe in the best. To love first. To want a happy ending for everyone in your life.
I hope I can live up to half the person that Nana believed I am. I hope you guys do, too.
I can’t eat or drink after midnight so I can’t stop thinking am I hungry? am I thirsty? should I eat just in case? wait maybe I am thirsty? what if I get hungry at 1 a.m.? should I eat now for 1 a.m. Alex? forget it, I’m just thirsty. or hungry? thirsty? anything? I’ll just eat.
In fact, I had to leave myself a note because I was worried these questions would turn into I AM THIRSTY I AM HUNGRY by Monday morning.
Oh, I can’t eat or drink after midnight tonight because I have a kidney stone which won’t leave my body and is too close to my bladder for soundwave treatment so I get stuck with a scope, a laser and a stent going into a place I only want things to come out of.
In fact, I found the whole surgery thing so unappealing, I waited 8 days — 2 of which I could not talk, type, read, or watch TV because I was in so much delirium from pain and nausea. Looking back on those first few days, I’m astounded kidney stones exist. Not only have we not cured something that causes that much chaos in a person’s world, but we don’t even understand why most people get them. WTF, medicine? I’m peeing blood, and we’re all WAIT AND SEE.
But when I finally made it to the urologist after 72 hours of no stone unstuck, I was told of this horrible surgery option or wait and see some more. I chose waiting and water and Flomax and a 50% shot at it working. Of course, there’s also 50% shot at nothing working over the next 3 weeks for size of my stone (thanks medical school lectures) so I also scheduled the surgery and gathered my friends and family to think moving, rolling, sliding, passing thoughts.
As it turns out, prayers don’t move kidney stones like they move mountains because I have less than 12 hours to pass this baby before I’m being prepped for ureteroscopy and friends.