My Granny passed away last Friday. She was in her home and I and her family were surrounding her. I have gone from someone who has not been around death too much, to someone who held a person’s hand when they took their last breath. And not just any person, but a person who promised to love me forever.
It’s just as weird as you think it is. In a way, just like it seems on TV. No crazy convulsions. Just a second-by-second transition from living to not living.
“Do you feel a pulse?”
She didn’t seem scared. And not in too much pain though there was no way of knowing that. She was on a lot of morphine and she couldn’t speak or move, but she seemed brave. To a fly on the wall, she may have seemed a bit shriveled and like any other person who is old and dying and then dead. But when those you love go away from you, you only see what they looked like up close. When she was next to you in this world and breathing the same air and eating the same fried chicken. She looked so beautiful.
My Granny got cancer a few months ago. Or at least they discovered it a few months ago. And it was one of those bitch of a cancers that takes no prisoners and I hate her cancer. Because it took her away from me. She had a hysterectomy and they thought they got it. They couldn’t even see it anymore. She woke up in pain last week and went to the hospital.
“It’s back. Unfortunately, it has spread to the entire pelvis.”
She will never call me again. She will never hug me or send me her $25 birthday check. I will never sleep in her bed again and I will never tell her how beautiful she is. But maybe, just MAYBE, that little skank of a cancer, even that little shit was a good thing. Because it took her breaths quickly. It took her body quickly. And she, out of anyone, deserved to suffer for as few minutes as possible.
But, let me be clear, that cancer did not take her life. We got her life. She gave her life to her sons, her husband, her church, her grandchildren, her house, her lawn, her friends, her cabinets, her clocks, her God. That cancer didn’t even get her death, we got that too. I got that. I got her hand. Her daughter got her shoulder and ear. Her sons got her last prayer.
“Do you want a prayer on this end, Mom?”
The hospice nurse came in around 4 p.m. on Friday and seemed unsure of the future. She told us it could be tonight, tomorrow, in a week. She was very sweet, this nurse. A young 30-something who had the incredible job of telling people how fast the one’s they loved were leaving them. I loved her for being so nice. My Granny had said goodbye to all of us already. We had all given her our permission to go. And the cancer was at it’s greediest stage. Eating itself to it’s own demise.
I was beside her as was my sister-in-law, brother, and cousins when it started to sound like she was choking. Liquid morphine causes congestion so it was hard to tell. But there was a shift, so we called for Greg. (My uncle and her son.) Greg and his wife Gail rushed into the room and to her side. .
“We’ll be okay Mom. You’ve done enough.”
I would have done more if I had known. I would have called her more often. But it was a bitch of a cancer. And it took her quickly. I would have told her how much I liked sleeping in her bed. How beautiful I thought she was. I would have thanked her for loving me. Would have written something for her last moments. A witty, yet painfully meaningful couple of paragraphs.
“Thank you for loving me forever. Thank you for loving me forever.”
She is gone now. But it has to be said that she is the reason I am here so I give her a big thank you. As all of her 5 grandkids and their partners do. May we all be so lucky. And may we all kick skank bitch cancer’s ass the way she did.