5/16/2008

A Secret Conversation with Grandma おばあちゃんとの秘密の会話


(Loren and Grandma eating lunch at the hospital room.)

(I wrote this posting in Japanese first, so English version of this positing took a loooooong time to be written. Sorry. Finally, here it is.)

It’s been awhile since I posted my last posting.
I could not make time to update. I think this was the longest time I did not update my blog. There have been many things happened… I am doing fine, though.

Well, there are many things I want to write about, but I want to finish this story of our “adventure” with Grandma since I have written this far.

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, I ended the last story at the point where we finally found a nursing home for her.

Although we found one for her, we did not entirely feel ready to go back to Maui. We wanted to make sure that Grandma was fine in the process of being discharged from the hospital and moving into the nursing home, so we changed the date of flights.

On the day when Grandma was supposed to leave the hospital, she was busy getting ready to leave from the early morning. She tends to prepare herself way in advance. For example, if her doctor’s appointment is at 9 am, she is ready at least by 7:30 am, and she waits for an hour or so continuously asking people around her, “What time are we leaving?” Therefore, she gets tired even before she leaves the house, and people around her also get tired of answering her questions and looking at the clock. We tell her, “Don’t worry. We have a lot of time still.” “You don’t have to start to get ready yet, Grandma.” Yet, she seems fidgety and uneasy until she gets ready. In a way, I admire her for being on time always because I tend to do things until the very last minute and get ready for appointments hastily.

Although we told her that she would be discharged after lunch, she was perfectly ready around 10 am. Despite of us explaining to her numerous times that we had to wait for a discharge summary and permission from a doctor, she was tired of waiting and saying, “What are we waiting for? Let’s go.” While I appeased her by saying, “I know you want to leave soon. So do we. We will leave soon. Let’s wait a bit more,” Loren was busy getting all the necessary documents for the nursing home, medications, and so on. After all, we finally got permission from the hospital and also a welcome notice from the nursing home. Once again, I looked around the room where Grandma stayed for the past 4-5 days.

On the third night, I stayed overnight in her room. On that night, when we were about to leave her room to go home (Loren’s mom’s house), Grandma started to cry, imploring not to leave her alone. For the first and second nights, Loren’s mom stayed over to make sure that Grandma was fine. However, she could not sleep on the hospital’s hard portable bed anymore due to her back situation, and it was Grandma’s third night, so we figured that she could stay by herself. However, she did not let us go easily. Loren tried to sooth her, but she kept sobbing like a small child. The next moment, my mouth said, “I will stay with you tonight, Grandma” without really giving it a thought. I could not help it by looking at Grandma so sad and so scared because she had so many tests, seeing different doctors and nurses, being asked so many questions, being taken all the medications away, and not knowing where she was really. After Loren and his mom left, I borrowed one of Grandma’s pajamas and changed into it and lay down on the folding bed that the hospital prepared for me. It was pretty comfortable, but I understood that it was not the best bed after a couple of hours. I was right next to Grandma’s bed. With the light escaping from the hallway, I was unintentionally gazing the outline of Grandma’s body that was touching the air around her body. Each time she breathed in, the line rose up a little bit. “She is alive…” I quietly thought. From there, I started to ask questions in my heart as if I was speaking to Grandma’s soul. “Hi Grandma, it’s me, Akari. How are you doing?” Her soul seemed to be awake even when her body was in asleep and replied, “I am doing just fine.” I said, “There were many tests. You must be tired of all that.” Her soul answered, “Aha, but I am doing all right.” “You must be scared because there have been many strange tests, and you got confused about where you are and why you are here,” I expressed. Her soul said, “Well, that’s true, but a real ‘me’ is fine. On the surface level, I seem to be confounded, but real ‘me’ is actually made quite strong. Now is time to experience some suffering, but my real being is always doing fine, so do not worry about me.” The voice sounded really strong and steady, so I felt a bit better and felt like I could nicely fall in asleep. I told her, “Grandma, I am sorry that it is the way it is now. I am sorry that we could not take care of you at home any longer.” She replied, “What are you talking about? You did enough. You did plenty. I could not have asked more.” I requested her, “Grandma, don’t forget how much we love you, okay?” She quietly but firmly said back to me, “I know” and smiled gently as if to say, "That's so obvious. Why are you telling me that again?" Lastly, I said, “Good night, Grandma. See you tomorrow.” That was the end of our secret conversation that I had with her soul.

After that, she started to snore really loud, so I wanted to tell her soul, “Grandma, I cannot sleep! You need to snore more quietly.” But she did not answer anymore. I pushed my left ear against a pillow as I regretted that I did not have an ear plug handy. (My right ear is almost deaf, so if I cover my left ear, I barely hear with my right ear. It is quit convenient when I want some quietness; I only need to cover left ear.)

Her room that I glanced once more in the day light did not leave even a piece of trace of our conversation, but Grandma and I knew. We knew that we had a secret conversation between us.

To be continued…

--------------------------------- Japanese -----------------------------

ご無沙汰しておりました。
いやいや、随分長い間更新出来ない状態でありました。これほどの間、更新しなかったのはブログを始めてから初めてのことと思われます。色々ありましたものでねぇ・・・(遠くを見るような感じで)。まぁ、元気にはしてますので。

色々とあったことはまた書いていきたいと思いますが、折角ここまでおばあちゃんのこと書きましたからしっかりと終わらせておきたいと思います。

さぁ、一生懸命記憶を辿りますと、この前はおばあちゃんに老人ホームが見つかったというところで終わりましたね。

そうなんです、老人ホームは何とか見つかりましたが、その見つかった翌日にローレンと私はマウイに戻る予定だったのですが、二人ともこのまま帰るのはどうしても落ち着かず、ちゃんとおばあちゃんが退院して老人ホームに落ち着くのを見てから帰りたいと思いまして、帰りの飛行機をずらしたのでありました。

老人ホームが見つかった翌日、おばあちゃんはいそいそと出る準備をしていました。おばあちゃんはいつも「何でそんなに?」と思う程早く用意をし始める傾向があります。例えば朝の9時に病院の予約があるとします。そうしましたら、おばあちゃんは朝の7時には出かける準備が出来ていまして、7時から8時半までの間、何をするでもなく「もう時間か?もう時間か?」と聞いてはたいそう気を揉まれるのです。なので行く前から疲れてしまいます。そしてそれを応対する私たちも疲れるので、私たちはいつも「まだまだ時間はあるんだから、そんな早くから準備しなくていいよ。」と言うのですが、本人曰く早く準備をしないと落ち着かないとのこと。その点、私は見習う必要があるんですけどね。(私はいつも約束の時間の直前まで準備をしないで何かしらやっているもので・・・。)

退院予定時間はお昼過ぎだというのに、午前中の10頃にはもう出る気満々のおばあちゃん。「お医者さんから退院許可証をもらわないと出れないのだ。」と何度説明しても、「一体全体、私たちは何を待っているというの。早く行きましょう」とのこと。「そうだね、もう少しだからね。」と応対しつつ、その間もローレンは最後の詰めに忙しそうにしておりました。ようやく退院許可証が出まして、老人ホームとも連絡が取れまして、病院を出られることになりました。改めて4,5日過ごした部屋を見渡すと不思議な気持ちになるのでした。

おばあちゃんが入院して三日目の夜、私はおばあちゃんの部屋で付き添いました。夜、ローレンと私が帰る直前になって「一人にしないでくれ」と泣き出してしまったおばあちゃん。ローレンがなだめても、小さい子のようにしくしく泣くおばあちゃんを見かねた私は「今晩は私が泊まっていくから大丈夫よ。」と気付いたら言っていました。(それまではローレンのお母さんが泊まってくれていた。)消灯してから、病院が用意してくれていたゲスト用の折りたたみ式のベッドに寝そべって、隣のベッドに横になっているおばあちゃんの体と空気の境の辺りを、他の部屋から漏れる光を頼りに、何となく見いていました。おばあちゃんが息をする度にその境の線が膨らんだりしぼんだりしました。「あぁ、おばあちゃん生きてるんだなぁ。」なんてしみじみ思ってみたり。そのまま、おばあちゃんの魂に話しかけるような感じで心の中で色々質問してみました。「おばあちゃん、あかりだよ。どう?元気?」おばあちゃんの魂は本人が寝ているときも起きているみたいで「えぇ、元気よ。」と応えてくれました。「色々な検査があって、大変やったねぇ。」と言うと、「そうね。でも大丈夫よ。」とのこと。「沢山の変化があって、自分がどこにいるのかも分からなくなって辛いろう?」と言うと、「そうね。でも真の私は大丈夫よ。表面上ではうろたえているけど、本当の私は結構丈夫に出来てるの。今は色々辛いことを経験するときみたいだけど、私の本質はいつも大丈夫だから、心配しないでいいのよ。」とのこと。その声は本当に頼もしくて、それを聞いて少し安心した私は気持ちよく眠りにつけるような気がしました。「おばあちゃん、こんなことになってしまってごめんね。お家で看てあげられなくてごめんね。」と言うと「あなたたちは十分してくれたじゃない。何を言っているの。」って。「おばあちゃん、私たちおばあちゃんのこと大好きなこと忘れないでね。」と言うと、「I know. 知っているわ。」という返事が返ってきました。「じゃ、また明日ね。」と言って私はおばあちゃんとの魂との会話を終えました。

その後、とっても元気ないびきを始めたおばあちゃん。私は耳栓を持ってないことを悔やみつつ、左耳を枕に押し当てて眠りにつく努力をしました。(私は右耳がよく聞こえないので、左耳を被せるとほぼ何も聞こえなくなるのである。耳栓がないときなど便利であーる。)

昼間に見る病院の部屋は、そんな会話が行われた痕跡を一つと残さず静かにしていました。でも、私とおばあちゃん知っていました。私たちは秘密の会話をしたことを。

(写真上は、ローレンとおばあちゃんが入院中お昼ご飯を一緒に食べているところ。)

(続く・・・)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi!dear Akari,

Congratulations!!to your great achivements! ("Yokattane" from Shintaro)We are SO happy for you.

We wish we could be celebrating right there with you.

We would like to send you something as our expression of happiness. Could we have an address which is not PO Box?
Thank you

Send you much love!
Barbara,Ryota, Shintaro,Koki and Akito

Akari Ueoka 上岡安佳里 said...

Dear Barbara, Ryota, Shintaro, Koki, and Akito,

Thank you so much for your comment. Would you mind to e-mail me at aueoka@hawaii.edu, so that I can tell you my mailing address?

Mahalo!

Akari