Monday, January 4, 2010

My grandmother passed away last night

and I am terribly sad, not that that is so unexpected... and not that her death was really unexpected either. But,she was always such a vital, vibrant woman - it's almost inconceivable to me that she is permanently and forever gone from this earth.

If I look at is objectively, I know that she (and by extension, we) were blessed as I honestly cannot remember a time in my 42 years that my grandmother was ill, except for the last 7 months of her life. Now, I'm sure that she had her share of colds or had the flu here and again, but she lived to the ripe old age of 91-1/2 years old and her only chronic affliction was mild arthritis. She was still very active, travelling yearly with my mother, taking care of her household, enjoying her life, even though she had slowed down a little bit these last few years.

It still doesn't feel "real" to me. I'm not used to seeing her all that often, and to be honest, I was a less-than-perfect granddaughter as I also failed to call her as often as I should have. I think that it will really hit me next December, as I have spent every single Christmas in the last 42 years with her.

The last 7 months have been difficult for my grandmother. The surgery was very hard on her and left her wanting to die. But, gradually, as she recovered and gained strength, she began to feel more positive and began to get back to her life. It seems that, just as sht had resumed a relatively "normal" activity level - though she still seemed very weak and frail to me, almost as if she had aged greatly overnight - there was a set back... wevere inflammation of her GI tract that left her very uncomfortable. Her appetite decreased again, and my uncle and mother had to begin administering the morphine to try and ease her pain. On the third night of this, my uncle and his girlfriend sat up in my grandmother's room as she slept because she was breathing very shallowly - her hands were cyanotic, my uncle tells me, and he was very worried about her. Finally, he woke her and gave her anotherh dose of morphine - and as the drug entered her system, her breathing eased and leveled out and the color returned to her hands... they felt comfortable enough to leave her and go to bed themselves as it was getting late.

They had set up, some time ago, a baby monitor so that my uncle could listen for and care for my grandmother at night... my uncle says that approximately 10 minutes after he retired to his own bedroom, my grandmother just stopped breathing... and she was gone.

He called my mother shortly after midnight and she went to the house; as there was nothing to be done, M and I weren't called until this morning.

I am grateful that she is at peace; I am grateful that she did not suffer for long; I am confident that she is in a much better place tonight; but my heart is broken and I miss her.