It is shaping up to be a bad week. I realize at this point it is Saturday and the week is technically over, but bear with me. Thursday I got a text from my father telling me that my Aunt Inez had passed away. Technically she is a Great Aunt and the sister of my Grandmother that passed away close to a decade ago now. So given her age it is not terribly shocking news, but I feel horrible that she lived roughly two hours away… and I have not seen her since my Grandmothers funeral. At the least I think she attended the funeral, but that day was such a blur that I can’t really be certain. I know she was not at my Grandfathers funeral a few years ago, because she wasn’t well enough to travel. I don’t know the details of when the service will be, but I was figuring I likely should make the trip.
That was at least until last night I got a call from my mother. Another Aunt has been in and out of the hospital more times than I can count over the last few years. I say Aunt but again that is a bit of a misnomer since she is technically my second cousin… but she treated me like a nephew pretty much all of my life and I was too young to realize that my cousins and I did not have the same relationship to her. She has been in final stage renal failure for quite some time and having to take eight hour dialysis pretty much every other day. In fact when my Grandmother on my moms side passed away earlier this year, I had thought my Aunt would go before her. Last night on the phone my mother said that she had been given a terminal diagnosis and was being transferred to hospice. Yesterday they stopped dialysis which gives her a prognosis of two to four days at the most.
As at peace as I thought I would be with this… it turns out I really am not. In fact my mother called my cell phone at 7 am this morning…. and I am scared to death to return it. My wife and I had planned to come visit her today, since we couldn’t go together last night. My fear is that I am going to pick up the phone and call my mother back and find out that she passed in the night. I have a complex mix of feelings about how exactly I am with this possible event. So long as I don’t call her back, it is like it hasn’t happened yet… and for all I know it might not have. There is part of me that thinks it is a blessing, because she has not had any semblance of a qualitative life in the last six years or so. The single solitary joy she had was mealtime, and if that is the happiest you are all day long… then it tells me life is pretty horrible. Another part of me deeply mourns the fun and interesting aunt that she was for most of my life, and that she hasn’t been able to be for the last decade. I know that once I finish my blog post, I will call my mother back and whatever it is that has happened will not longer be sitting out in a buffer somewhere… but will be very real. This mornings post I guess is a way of psyching myself up to receive the news.
I did not actually make it through my post this morning before receiving another call from my mother. It was in fact what I had feared, that my aunt passed away over night. She drifted off to sleep and never woke up and passed early this morning around 2 am. I guess they had known about this for longer than they had told me. She found out sometime on Wednesday, and at that point her and my mother went into planning mode, planning all of the elements of her funeral. Apparently she also threw all of her renal diet measures out the window and ate the things she had been craving. The one that I found the oddest was the fact that apparently she had been craving a snickers bar. So much so that she asked my mother to go out and get her one right then. By some quirk of fate my mother had purchased a snickers bar that morning and it was sitting there in her purse just waiting for the request.
My aunt was one of people that when she made up her mind she did it whatever it was. If she decided she wanted to go to a craft show, she would show up at the house early that morning and say “get in the car, we are going to a craft show”. More often than not my mother would tag along for whatever adventure it was that they were off to, be it going to a movie or going on a road trip. When I was younger there were many weekends she would decide that we were going off together to visit my cousins, and me and my Aunt would go off on an adventure where I am sure I would talk her ear off about whatever thing I happened to be into at the time. It turns out that when she realized there was no getting better, she set her mind to planning on her passing. It sounded like during the day yesterday she had set all of her affairs in order, making sure my mother had transferred enough to her own account to pay for the funeral. After that it seems like she decided she was done with everything that needed to be done and simply drifted off peacefully.
As not to end this mornings post on a somber note, I thought I would mention something that warms my heart. Final Fantasy XIV is a very charming game, and as such it seems to attract a certain type of gamer that is more than willing to stop and smell the roses. When I go idle I am notorious for starting up one of the many dances that I have been collecting in game. Often times when I return to the keyboard I will be joined by one or more people who have decided to take up dancing beside me. This happens as an almost nightly ritual in the housing ward our guild has a plot in. I will go down to the market board, and while checking out what has been posted I will start up a dance. Before I know it Naine one of the neighbors will have joined me, and on occasion others will as well. The community is weird like that, and I am growing to love it.
The above screenshot is of me and a new friend going through our little dance ritual while waiting on something to spawn. I feel like if you stop to dance with a Lalafell, you are destined to become instant friends. So the next time you happen upon someone dancing in whatever game you happen to be playing… take a moment to join in. It is moments like this that make the virtual world seem so much closer than just an assemblage of pixels. On a side note I am extremely happy to see so many friends either renewing their accounts or starting new ones to come hang out on Cactuar with us all. I am really hoping this will be a game I set down roots in for a long while. We are already involved in a bunch of different active link shells and it feels like we have connections far deeper than just our immediate circle of friends. I have not felt that way in any game since the early days of Warcraft, and I have to say it feels really awesome.