Death- *Warning*, long, whiny message ahead!

My great-grandmother died.

Now it’s no big deal in the grand scheme of the universe. She only spoke Spanish, and I only know English. So it’s not like I ever got -incredibly- attached to her. But it was wicked, witnessing her in the final throes of her life.

It started with a cystitic attack which left her hospitalized. When I greeted her with a bow and a kiss, she responded with a hearty smile, and a ‘Thank you’. It was the only time in her life I can ever remember her using English words. It was the last time I ever saw her smile.

But she was old, and frail. Her recovery was not certain, and she did falter. Her kidneys failed, and then so did the rest of her body. The last time I saw her while she was living, she was paralyzed in one half of her body, fervently trying to move her hand to make the sign of the cross, and trying to stammer out the words to a prayer in spanish. She drifted in and out of consciousness. Her hands and feet were black from necrosis. She was literally rotting from the outside in while she was still alive.

I witnessed death in action at that moment. It was all freaky-weird, ya know? It wasn’t the first time, either. The first time, death happened a lot -quicker-.

When I was a little boy, the girl who used to live on the same street as I was killed by a hit and run driver while on the walk home from school in the 4th grade. She was -right- behind me! Talking with a friend. Sad part is–we only cross -one- street on the way home. The rest of it is just a short trek through an open desert space. Literally within eyeshot of our houses. But death is clever–he knew how to snatch her in that small window of time.

I have pretty swift reflexes, ya know? I’d been dwelling on this a lot ever since having watched the old woman die. What if it were -me- in that street? I might have been able to get out of the way. What if she were in -front- of me, instead of behind me? I could have warned her of the impending danger. If I had been reckless enough, I would’ve probably even tried to save her. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d risked drawing a little blood for the sake of protecting others.

I guess the real difference is that with the old woman–I had witnessed her -dying-. But with the girl, I had witnessed her -murder-.

Anyways, I wasn’t able to go to her wake.
And I won’t be attending her funeral, either.

I just picked up a temp job. Deskwork. It’s the only job I’ve managed to find in this barren little town for the past 7 months. No funderal for me, nosirree…I’ll be going in early at the office tomorrow so I can work through my lunch-hour like every other day this week! That way, I can leave a little early in time for college classes, and then come back home just in time to sleep for about 5 or 6 hours before doing it all over again! Know why? 'cause I’m -desperate- for work! I’m one -devoted- sonuvabitch! And that old fart who bought me had better write a -glowing- review when my contract is over!

But I can’t stop feeling down, ya know? Why do I keep feeling so sad over her death? She and I didn’t even -speak- the same language! The only times I used to see her a lot was when my grandparents would take me to visit her every tuesday while growing up!

I think it might be 'cause she was really the only sort of living link I had to my bloodline. My geneaology can’t be traced back more than 2 or 3 generations. On my father’s side, they simply didn’t keep any records of that sort of thing…and on my mother’s side…well–it gets mixed up in illegal immigrants and false identities. Ya wouldn’t believe how many times I had to ‘invent’ family trees for those types of assignments in school.

Anyways–this post is really long. And it has no definite structure to it. Besides–I didn’t type it to try and win pity. And I’m not expecting any miraculous advice.

I just wanted somewhere to voice my thoughts and maybe be understood for once by anyone who happens to read it, ya know?

So Mods–feel free to lock this thread. Those of you who happen to read this message–don’t feel obligated to reply. Sooner or later, the thread will just drift down the list and be forgotten in the mists of time, like a shadow fading as the Earth turns into a world of lights.


I don’t feel obligated, I just wanted you to know I understand. I’m not going to offer advice or pity- I just wanted to assure you that there is at least one person who has sort of been there before.
I spent all of last summer helping my grandfather through ileostomy problems and kidney disease.

The last week of his life I sat with him almost 18 hours of every day giving him his morphine and haldol, holding his hand, and putting lotion on his lips and feet.

He slipped into a coma, and I was with him when he died.
Watching someone die can be very disconcerting, whether you knew them well or not. Of course it forces you to examine your own mortality, which is an unsettling topic for most. And I think your theory about losing a link to your bloodline is a good one.

Also, you couldn’t have done anything to stop your great-grandmother from dying. While I think you probably couldn’t have saved that little girl, you seem to think her death could have been avoided (which is entirely understandable). That may contribute to your conflicting feelings about witnessing these deaths.
Anyway, just wanted you to know you aren’t alone. I’d say hang in there, but I promised no advice.