I Know Gabby Giffords

When you love of people, as we both do; and the only tools you can use are words,
and you can’t make words,
then you make tears


13 thoughts on “I Know Gabby Giffords

  1. My grandmother just had a stroke. She’s 85, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to get much better. I visited her in the hospital on the day after. They just moved her out of the ICU and into the Step-Down Unit. My grandma has never been loud, but she was always one for conversation. Now, she can hardly make a few words intelligible. I can see the frustration in her face, and my heart aches. It would be different if she lost some of her cognition and wasn’t totally aware of the situation. But, she didn’t. She’s in there, consciously intact, and she’s trapped.

    I wish the rest of my family can see it the way that I do. They seem to think that she’ll get better and that it’s not that bad. Well, try telling her that.

    1. I am very sad. And I daren’t advise you because the experience is so personal.

      I will, if you want, tell what death means to me. And recovery. I will tell you, if you want, what it felt like when I was so close that I couldn’t even swallow without therapy…I was so out of it.

      Please stop me if I’m intruding into your head. please, Please, PLEASE.

      You really do know the loneliness of being with out speech. All our deepest thoughts are speechless, aren’t they?

      Once, years ago, after my father-in-law died, he was all tubed up… … …and some doctor came on rounds… … …treated him like he was already a corpse. Owgh!


      I remember her, my wife, talking to her dead father days after the event. I wasn’t trying to fix anything. I just talked to her. Scared as hell, but I kept talking to her.

      My father, also. Of Hodgkens [spell]. Same thing. He had a stroke weeks before the actual death. Talking about “shit” and “death”, and not making any sense. Not remembering any of it.

      At my mom’s death, she shoe’d me away ’cause she wanted to talk to the grand-kids. She knew somehow what was happening with her. And me, in my ignorance, I hated her for years, after loving her for a whole lifetime.

      Just speak to her. You’ll know what she needs to tell you. You’ll be with her as much as you possibly can. That she forgives you for EVERYTHING. You were her special “Liebshien” or…, you’ll know. And vice-verse, right back. And the two of you will cry. Shared crying is a gift from God. Tell her you’ll see her again, soon enough. Well all got there eventually. What little research [you and I are both ‘research hounds’ aren’t we] supports a loving end. Its seems scarey but, in an unexplainable sense, we survive it.

      I should stopped paragraphs ago. But you know you can tear up this piece of paper here, and I won’t be offended.

      Please tell your grandma she’s in our prayers.


      1. She can’t swallow either. I remember she was telling me and the nurse that she was thirsty. But, I knew she wasn’t allowed to have it. What agony! To have dry mouth eternally! At least I knew she wasn’t really thirst in the sense that her body needed water. She had an IV.

        I see things differently than the rest of my family. Maybe it’s because I have a uniquely wired brain of a person with bipolar disorder. I’m not sure, but I’ve always had that sixth sense of feeling other people’s emotions. It’s overwhelming, I feel them everywhere. And from standing in that hospital room, I get the sense that they’re writing her off. She was in the ICU for less than a day, and then she was in the Step-Down Unit. This is before they completed all of the tests to find out what exactly happened with her stroke. Now, they have her in the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit and it had only been 4 days. I’ve seen it for myself. My grandma still has a feeding tube and can hardly even stand at all. It’s like they’re rushing her through there because they know.

        I know, too. I’ll tell you this, because you’ve been wonderfully honest with me. I don’t think that she’s long for this world. And for me, that’s okay. My Pappap died over 15 years ago now. She hasn’t been the same since his death. In a way, she kind of gave up on life until my son was born, and that was only 3 years ago. I know she doesn’t want to live like this. She wasn’t in great shape before the stroke. The Lewy Body Dementia has done terrible things to her body and her mind. She’s been a diabetic for over 40 years now. Personally, I feel like she’s had a wonderful life, filled with great children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She deserves to be free of her deteriorating body and at rest.

        I do tear up a little when I think about it, but I know that she lived a good life. This is not a tragedy. The tragedy is that it had to end like this. I wish it could have ended like it did with my Pappap. The man lived with dignity until his very last day. And he died very peacefully in his sleep. He ended up with 10 more years of life after he was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors gave him 5, at best. He lived, and he got to watch his grandchildren grow up.

        I have every intent to go and be with her, but not in the way my aunts do. They’re there, every moment they have to spare. My grandmother doesn’t want that. She wants everyone to go about their lives. Mostly, the grandchildren have, stopping by to visit whenever time permits. And she is grateful that we do that, instead of putting the brakes on everything to worry about her.

        I know she knows too. I think we shared a moment where both of us understood fully. It seems like I’m the only one that shares that connection. Funny enough, we were never as close as she was to her other grandchildren in her life. But, it’s as if she senses that I’m the only one who can look into her eyes and see what’s not being said. I think she’s waiting for something. But, I can’t put my finger on what.

        They say that when a person is close to the end, they know it. I believe that. I’ve had what could have been near death moments without modern medicine. It’s some kind of other worldly feeling, unlike anything I’ve ever had before. It was interesting – dying was peaceful. It was kind of like being barely asleep, wrapped in warm blankets, like they were fresh from the dryer. The world faded out, and I wasn’t scared at all. I should have been scared. My blood pressure was tanking quickly.

        The other time was recently. When I had the drug interaction, before my body started purging all of toxins, I felt nice. And it wasn’t pain medication nice, where the world is happy. It was just nice. Calm. And inside, I felt peaceful and even kind of happy. I was satisfied with myself and my life.

        Is that what dying was like for you?

        And don’t worry, I’m not offended or upset. I’m glad that someone wanted to share with me. Someone who has been there and has come back. Someone that has experienced loss of loved ones. Thankfully, my Pappap was the only person I lost. And I feel privileged that the powers that be allowed me those 10 extra years. I was still young when he died, but he made all of the difference in my life.

        I’m so grateful that my grandmother didn’t pass away on Christmas. I didn’t go to see her in the morning that day, like I usually do. I was waiting for her to get home from dinner. I would have never forgiven myself for blowing my grandmother off on Christmas.

        What do you think she’s waiting for?

      2. i had a response for you and i lost it during a crash. you know i write passionately. when these things happen feel almost like i’ve lost a child. metaphor, metaphor there is some analogy in this experience, but i’m too woe begotten to draw it.

        i’ll write again tomorrow.

        [wane smile]

      3. http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/nighting.html

        i’m really sorry. i just don’t have it in me to write it again. i was riffing on “Ode to a Nightingale”, by Keats, where he speaks of a ‘easeful death’. “I have been half in love with easeful Death,” he says. the professor does a beautiful job explaining. i’d add my own input but i really can’t.

        As I was writing, i was listering to Pandora radio [u know?], ‘graceland radio station. I was c+rying and singing. not a pretty sight.

        gotta go…getting loop+

        dhit..my cat.

        some days i shoulda stood in bed!


  2. I understand, I’m the same way. Once something has been gobbled up by technology, it’s gone for good. I can never recapture the essence of what I was writing. But, I know you. It was inspirational, thoughtful, and close to your heart.

    That’s why I know this is so important for you. I understand.

    And what about the cat? I like kitties. They’re cute!

    And I’m not sure that your bed likes to be stood on. Mine doesn’t. It gives a big heaving noise. Although, it doesn’t mind my son jumping on it. Odd. Maybe my bed doesn’t like me.

      1. if you’re there [“where else would you be”, he said, existentially?] the New York Alliance website is streaming right now. “Live From New York! Its Sundaaaay Night!! Go Party!!!

        Can I give you a kiss?


      2. I keep forgetting to share my love of singing with you. The full-throatedness of powerful singing actually brings me to joyful tears.

        I’ll be your Sonny if you’ll be my Cher!


  3. Haha! Of course, we could do the Sonny and Cher thing! LOL, “I got you babe!” I love their duets.

    Being Sonny probably wouidn’t work well though. He hasn’t been among the living in over a decade now! I remember when he had his fatal accident. It was my (autistic) brother’s first joke, “Sonny Bono died. He didn’t (sings) watch out for that tree!”

    Sorry I wasn’t around for New Years! I’d have given you a kiss, and C.S would have been soooo jealous! We spent the night lounging around, playing with T.D., and watching Rockin’ New Years Eve. I can’t believe Dick Clark is still participating in that! But, it’s not Rockin’ New Years Eve without Dick Clark. All of my life he’s been doing that.

    Did you have a Happy New Year? My post was a scheduled post, so I wasn’t actually online at the time.

    1. I got married in ’64. I was always afraid of my self in those days. Hugging another woman was ‘verbotten’. By the ’70s, I was swimming naked with Lois W******t during a pool party in the San Fernando Valley. Lois ultimately became my wife’s supervisor. Think of the possibilities. I often do.

      I loved the sixties. Vietnam, Nixon, Watergate, Agnew, The Twist; [wane smile], my babies all growing up, … ….

      Those were the days.

      Ahem! [an html extra strong]

      Behave, TD, behave!!

      Not by my chinney, chinney, chins. [sic]


      1. LOL! Hilarious! We’re button-collared Pennsylvania puritans, you know? I’m not sure the 60’s ever happened here. I never hear anything about it. How is it that the 60’s happened all around PA, and yet, no hippies lived here, apparently?

        I was kind of happy when the Occupy camp started here. It really wasn’t a dirty, drug-infested camp. I went and saw for myself. It was clean, with brilliant and engaging people of all ages. They were so strict about their zero tolerance policy that they didn’t even let anyone smoke in the camp. And for a moment I hoped that I could see the social revolution of the 60’s for myself – live, in action.

        I’m not sure how freaky I am though. I guess if there were substances at work… No, no, I’ve been there. One freaky, hot mess. A chick that was the most awesome time, if I was in the right mood. But that’s all I had or could offer, just the time. I get it now why people treated me (and still often do) like I was a novelty. I am.

        So, I’ll get the stage paint on and start prancing it around. Works for Lady Gaga, right?

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