What’s the first thought you have when you wake in the morning? Is it the same from day to day or is it a gift given to you from dreams from the night before? My mind is flooded with my maternal Grandmother. I am not sure why but her last days were in the front of my mind. I remember the call that she went in to the hospital it was the summer. July long weekend. It was before the time of social media so no reminders on my timeline if I had to guess a year it would be 2008. My
Grandma’s health struggles were always a thing for as long as a I can remember. I think I was 13 when she was flown to Vancouver, British Columbia do undergo chemotherapy and some sort of laser treatment to reduce the size of her tumour in her brain. Can you believe the tumor they diagnosed her with was something they determined started to grow with the release of her hormones. Basically as she was becoming a woman her death clock turned on. That is the easiest way I can think of explaining it.
This morning I was reminded of my Grandma’s last night. My mother and her sister were at her bed side and the hospital staff was trying to encourage my Aunt to go to my mom’s and at least shower before taking up her bedside vigil. I am not sure if it was guilt or if it was logistics. My mother lived maybe 5 minutes away, my Auntie living 1.5 hours away. It was late around 11 pm and the nurses were telling them that not much would happen throughout the night and if she was gone for an hour my Grandmother wouldn’t notice. My Auntie mentioned that she was tired and couldn’t imagine having to stay another night. You see when my Grandmother went in they were unsure if she had a stroke or not but she did have pneumonia. From what I remember she never said much and during the time of trying to decide if my Aunt should leave she was asleep. Finally after being convinced that there wasn’t much to be done at that time they left for my Mom’s house. Would you believe that by the time they had gotten home the phone was ringing, my Grandma was gone.
You might wonder how it is that I remember the way it unfolded because it is imprinted on my brain. I had planned a trip back home to see everybody and ended up missing her by a day. My mom told me that it was ok now I didn’t need to come but there was nowhere else I wanted to be. I missed grieving with my family when it was my paternal Grandmother. I was out of sorts with my Dad and I was lucky enough that he even called at all. Talk about poor timing. I missed her by a day. But I remember her. She loved us so much and nothing gave her more joy than when we came to visit. Everybody says that though don’t they? Well as we were cleaning out her room, at least pieces of it we came across her journal in the night stand. Fingering through the pages that she used to touch and write her thoughts and feelings down there were her words. She was lonely. She wished we visited more. She was depressed. She was living her with us on Earth and we didn’t validate her as being alive. I didn’t live in the same town. It took 6 hours to get home but the feelings I had knowing how she felt ripped through me in waves. I was horrified and ashamed that somebody I loved so much felt that way. How are minds play tricks on us when we are living trying to convince us that it was all a different way. There were two things clear while we sat there mourning her departure. She felt very alone and she still very much loved her husband some 50 years later.
That visit changed me in a lot of ways. I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend of 1.5 years. After reading how love was supposed to feel I knew that me and him were just wasting time. I waited for him to drop me off at home and called him an hour later and broke up with him. He was surprised but how can he really? I was tired. Very tired of living the life that I was living. I had no idea that it was only about to get worse and what I was searching for was something that I was unable to obtain. There are a lot of lessons that you can learn from the lives of others. We just seem to get too preoccupied with things that really don’t matter. Nothing is more important than the time and love we spend with each other. That is why finding a loving, nurturing environment is so important. People will die. That is what we are all born to do. It is finding the compassion to be kind to others that helps heal the pain and helps the living move through. I don’t know why death is so painful but that pain doesn’t escape us all. We see animals who grieve at the loss of a family member or friend and that should be an indication just how traumatic losing somebody truly is. Some animals will spend the rest of their lives missing the person they loved. The bond is that deep. When was the last time you witnessed a human waiting endlessly at a grave for their loved one. Maybe that is how I have found myself in the company of so many little mouths. My Grandmother loved her cats. She also loved her glitter. If she had he means she would have been exactly like me. Extravagant. Larger than life. With all that she was she gave to her kids first. Of course there are those that may suggest something different but in my mind and in my heart she gave me life, she gave my mom life and it is an honour to wake with memories of her.