Addicted to Ink

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Thursdays

Three months. Said the doctors on Thursday.
That is, at most, how much time my mother's mother has left to live.
She's 78. She's in the final stages of cihrosis of the liver, and often her ammonia levels are very high, so when you visit her sometimes she wants you to move her dollhouse so she can see it better, and sometimes she thinks the nurse has taken her to the basement and deserted her, but always Grandma knows to ask where my husband is.

A few weeks. Said the doctors on Thursday.
That is, at most, how much time my mother's father has left to live.
He's 78. The doctors first thought that he had cancer of the liver, because he's yellow with jaundice. But that biopsy came back negative, yet all of his other tests scream "cancer" so they're certain it's somewhere. His very-close-to-him-step-son, a physician's assistant, believes it's in his pancreas. A very painful way to go. "I can't wait to get this home and get it over with," Grandpa, an avid deerhunter tells my mom's brother. So my stepuncle goes to his mom's house and removes all the guns and ammo. Just to be safe. They're having Thanksgiving at their house on Thursday. They always have Thanksgiving there. I won't be there on Thursday--I'll be with my grandmother at my aunt & uncle's house on Thursday, but I'll spend time with Grandpa on Wednesday.

What does one say to another who is dying so soon? Does one speak at all?

It's different with Grandma than it is with Grandpa. Grandma and I can talk about anything and we've always been very close.

Grandpa is very much the World War II generation kind of guy. We talk about general everyday kinds of things, and each visit ends with a kiss, a hug, and an "I love you," but we've never talked about big stuff. I wonder what our conversation will be.

I know that at 27, I am so incredibly blessed to still have all of my grandparents living.

But I didn't know it would be this difficult to watch them die.

2 Comments:

Blogger Heather said...

It is hard to watch a grandparent die. I watched my grandmother go into a mostly vegetative state (she could only communicate with her eyes at the end, and they were haunted), and by the time she left, I was ready for her to go. I felt so bad for her because she wasn't really living, just existing. I also knew what was waiting for her after her "shell" expired. I was relieved when she went. Not that I didn't grieve, but I could rest easy in the knowledge she was no longer suffering. You will reach this point, too.

Best advice I can give: tell them you love them as much as you can and just be there when you can. If you don't know what to say, sometimes silence is the best eloquence.

12:01 PM  
Blogger dawn said...

Amber, I feel your pain. It is so very hard to watch someone die. My grandma suffered from Alzheimer's for several years before she passed away. Unfortunately for us, the last few years of her life she really wasn't able to communicate. She just wasn't there mentally. It was horrible. But, at the same time, I will always cherish my memories of her, especially the ones when we couldn't talk anymore. Just being able to sit with her, hold her hand, and be quiet together was pretty special. You don't have to talk to share what you're feeling. Just being there sometimes is the best thing you can do. I'll keep you in my thoughts as you are going through this difficult time.

4:15 PM  

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