Let me say that this is not so much a plea for sympathy as much as it is therapy for myself. I tried to remain strong for my family, but they aren’t around right now, and now I can have my chance to release.
My grandmother had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks fighting a urinary tract infection. I thought nothing of it. She’s been in and out of the hospital several times over the past few years. She’s an iron lady. Though her quality of life had deteriated, she apparently still had somthing to stay on this earth for. Ever since my grandfather died 9 years ago her health got worse. The family tried live-in help for her, but had bad luck with crooked nurses. She lived with my uncle but the stress of caring for her full time proved too much. Finally she was moved into a nursing home. I hate that damn nursing home. It seemed so unclean, the smell was atrocious, and it only looked like people “living” there were waiting for death to claim them. I hated to go there and thus I didn’t visit my grandmother as much as I should have.
My mom called this morning. My uncle had come to visit her and couldn’t wake her up. She wouldn’t respond to shaking and her breathing was labored. The doctor examined her and concluded that she probably wasn’t going to make it thru the day. They put her on pure oxygen and morphine and my uncle made the request to not recessitate in case of the inevitible. No monitors were attached. The nurse came in every so often to check on her. My mom called to tell me, so I drove to the hospital. When I got there, I noted that what was on my bed didn’t look like my grandmother at all but like a machine that was worn down and was about to fall apart. She was no longer a person. If she could hear us in the room, I couldn’t know. In a way I hoped not, in a way I hoped so.
Honestly I still thought she was going to surprise us all and wheel out of there the next day as she’d done so many times in the past. Then more family started showing up. Great aunts and uncles, old family friends, people I’d not seen in years. People don’t gather like this for no reason. We sat there for six hours talking and watching my grandmother struggle for each breath. She scared me several times as I’d look and wait what felt like an eternity to see her breathe again, but she kept going. We did notice that her breathing was slowing but she still struggled. The attending nurse agreed that she did appear to be slowing her breath. She told us flat out what would happen if she were to pass away, that she’d check and then a doctor would have to confirm and declare it. I appreciated her honesty with us and not trying to build false hope in anyone. A few minutes passed and my uncle requested we say a prayer. All of Nanny’s children were there (my mom, with my my brother and his family, and two uncles and their wives and children.) We stood in a circle around her bed and prayed, not that death would pass her by, but that she would be at peace, and that we would all have the strength to cope and deal with the loss should it occur. With that amen, we gathered around the bed. Nanny’s breath had all but stopped. And then I saw proof that Nanny was aware of us. She cried one tear. She gasped once more and never again.
She doesn’t hurt any more. She won’t suffer ever again. She lived to see and love 3 generations of family. She now joins my grandfather after nine years of missing him.
If you are religious, I don’t ask for you to pray for me. I will pray for that myself. But please if you will, please pray for or send good thoughts to my family. They’ve been through a lot lately and this will of course take a serious toll on them for a while.
Thanks to the nurse who helped Nanny all day long, eased her suffering, and let us know what to expect. Thanks, my online friends, for seeing my name and reading my thoughts. Thanks in advance to my real world friends, who I know will support me when they learn of my tragedy. And thanks God for relieving her pain.
I love you, Nanny.