Miles To Go, Miles To Go

December 5, 2006

My heart is sore, my thoughts are tangled, my fingers are numb; I stumble toward writing but the writing, right now, does not release or calm or soothe.

December has come in fighting, raining blows upon my heart.

My step-grandmother (the only grandmother that I have had since my mother’s mother, the grandmother of my heart, passed away when I was thirteen) lies in intensive care. Dying, my grandfather says. A fall, an injury to the head. Subdural hematoma. He sighs, his voice tired, pained, over thousands of miles of telephone wire. He doesn’t know what he will do. My heart pounds and strains; I try to comfort him; we’ll come out, we’re coming, we’ll come soon, we’ll come see her, come see you. He doubts this, doubts that we will be able to see her, doubts that she will last that long. I whisper promises to call, to comfort, whatever he needs, whatever they need; we’ll be there soon, I say.

The next morning, this morning, I call my mother, who is estranged from her father, my grandfather, to urge her to call, to comfort, to set aside hurt and grievance, to be there. Of course, she says, of course, but haven’t I told you? Her own news came just yesterday. Skin cancer. Melanoma. Malignant tumour. Cut out, dug out, stitched over, but still. It lurks. I’m fine, she says. I must be vigilant, she says, on my guard, but I’m fine. I don’t believe her. Cancer is too dark a word; I can’t wrap it in light.

The distance between me and family – so many miles, so many hours, so many days – stretches, stretches. I have struggled – do struggle – with my distance from Tanner, from my sister, from that measured life, from the many joys and from the many pains (more and more he stumbles, they stumble, it is getting more difficult to veil the truth with cheer.) I have struggled – do struggle – with my distance from my father, who misses the embrace of family, who needs me, I know, even though he won’t say so. I struggle, struggle, struggle with distance. I miss them, they need me, I need them, it hurts.

Love can make any distance shrink, disappear; it draws the horizon to us, it allows us to touch the sun, feel its warmth, even when it is so far. Pain, fear – these make the smallest distance in time or space seem infinite, insurmountable. So far to go, so difficult the journey, why am I not already there?

My heart is sore, my head confused. Expect quiet from this corner for a few days.

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    Jo December 6, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    I’m so sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Gabriella December 6, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    I am so sorry, lots of warm hugs and good thoughts are sent your way.

    Pattie December 6, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    Catherine, I am so sorry for your pain right now…

    kim December 6, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    im so sorry, im thinking of you and ill say a little prayer *hugs*

    whymommy December 6, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    Oh, Catherine, I’m so sorry to hear this latest news. Hang in there, do what you can, and cut yourself a little slack for what you can’t. Hug Wonderbaby and keep encouraging your mom as you both go through this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    T. December 6, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    I am sorry for your pain Catherine.

    I understand.

    Best wishes to you and yours.

    GIRL'S GONE CHILD December 6, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    I’m so sorry, Catherine. I’m sending you giant hugs and hope. And strength. Lots of strength.

    Binkytown December 6, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    I’m so sorry too. Sending big virtual hugs. I hope you get there soon.

    Much More Than A Mom December 6, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    Oh Catherine. I’m so sorry for it all – I hope you get there safely whenever you can.

    Jezer December 6, 2006 at 7:37 pm

    Ah, C, I’m so sorry to hear this. I am sending many thoughts and prayers your way.

    Lizzy December 6, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    Gah! I’m so sorry to hear all of this. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
    I can’t imagine how difficult this must be. Your writing about family and distance really struck a chord with me.

    paula December 6, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    The best I can offer from a distance … {{{BEAR HUG}}}

    Mad Hatter December 6, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    mental peace, emotional stength. These I send to you.

    Izzy December 7, 2006 at 1:09 am

    You’ve got so much on your emotional plate. It doesn’t seem fair. I hope you can sort out all the logistics and get there sooner. I’m so sorry. I wish I could help. {{hug}}

    Go Mama December 7, 2006 at 2:35 am

    So sorry. As if you need any more on the proverbial plate.

    Wishing you peace, strength, and enough love to go around. And rest.

    Susanne December 7, 2006 at 6:15 am

    HUGS! And thanks for telling us. My thoughts are with you.

    TB December 7, 2006 at 9:25 am

    Separation is so difficult in times like these. It makes us feel guilty, even though we have done nothing wrong. It makes us feel alone even when we are with our immediate family. It makes us feel helpless and small and the world seem even larger than it is.

    Thinking of you.

    TB December 7, 2006 at 9:26 am

    Separation is so difficult in times like these. It makes us feel guilty, even though we have done nothing wrong. It makes us feel alone even when we are with our immediate family. It makes us feel helpless and small and the world seem even larger than it is.

    Thinking of you.

    Amber December 7, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    I understand these words. I just posted about my grandma and how she misses my grandfather…Prayers for your dad to be strong and have peace.
    And prayers for you, as well.


    Kyla December 7, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    Thinking of you.


    Chantal December 7, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    Catherine, I am so sorry. You and your family have my prayers.

    Christina December 7, 2006 at 10:29 pm

    Late to the gathering, but I wanted to add that I am so sorry for your loss, and for all the other stress you are enduring. You’ve had a rough time lately, and I can only hope some good heads your way soon.

    kittenpie December 8, 2006 at 9:11 am

    I’m sorry I didn’t comment before – I was just browsing at work and didn’t want to dash off something stupid.

    I know how this feels. I came back from vacation some years ago to a message saying that my granny was dying fast and might not last the week. There’s panic and guilt and fewar and sorrow and hope and despair because there isn’t really hope and it’s all mixed together into one big heavy lump of hurt and I sorry, so sorry, that you are there now. A big hug from me, although I’m guessing some cuddles and sweet baby kisses from WonderBaby are a better balm than anything I could offer.

    Kara December 8, 2006 at 1:53 pm


    Annie, The Evil Queen December 8, 2006 at 3:07 pm

    I’ve been MIA a few days and am so sorry to have missed this. I’m far from all of my fmaily too and completely understand how the distance amplifies the pain and longing. I’ll be thinking of you and your family during this trying time.

    Granny December 8, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    I am so sorry. I’ve been wrapped in my own trials and having been keeping up as I should.

    I will be thinking about you and your family and wishing all comfort and some peace.

    MommyWithAttitude December 8, 2006 at 5:06 pm

    Oh Catherine I’m so sorry. No words are adequate in these situations.

    Haley-O December 8, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    This is so sad, but so beautiful. I hope writing this helped you release some of what you’re feeling. I’m so sorry about your step-grandmother and devastated to hear that Tanner is “stumbling.” Your mother will be fine. Melanoma is the most curable cancer. My stepmother-inlaw has survived (the worst kind of) breast cancer. It will be alright. I’m thinking of you, and hoping, and praying. I really feel for you. You have a lot on your plate. ((Hugs))

    Dana December 9, 2006 at 12:56 am

    Catherine, I’m so sorry to hear about your step-grandmother. I am praying for her and you and all of your family.

    It’s been difficult for me to express my emotions about grandparents, because the anniversary of my grandmother’s death was on Wednesday.

    I hope that everything turns out for the best. I pray that she doesn’t suffer and that she can recover. It’s too hard to lose loved ones before Christmas.

    God bless,

    Mommy off the Record December 9, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    I am so sorry to hear this – both about your step-grandmother and your mother. Words don’t really comfort in times like these, but I do pray that your family can pull together to comfort each other during this difficult time.

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