October 17, 2012

How do you say goodbye?

My Grandmother had her 96th birthday last month.  She is an amazing woman.  She has survived cancer, a heart attack, and losing the love of her life to cancer.  She has eight grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, one soon to be two great, great grandchildren, and a great granddog.  My Grandma helped raise me so my parents could work. She took me to school, and sat outside my classroom because I cried and wanted to go home.  She drove me to my after school activities.  She is like my second mom.
My Grandma is a woman I aspire to be.  She's strong, speaks her mind, courageous, stubborn, and not afraid of doing anything. 

We went on a cruise when I was 16.  Our whole family was supposed to sit together at one table, all 15 of us, in the dining room.  There was some kind of mix up and we were at three separate tables close to each other.  My Grandma talked to the Maitre d' and told him that this was unacceptable.  He apologized and they were able to fix it so we would sit at the captain's table together.  My Grandma was even invited to dine with the captain!
After my Pop died, Grandma didn't slow down.  She loves to travel and found a seniors group that traveled out of the country.  She visited Russian and Japan on her own (with the group).  She loves to play cards and every Tuesday she plays with seniors at our town's community center.  Up until recently my Grandma also did exercise classes several days a week.

Her body is slowing down, but not her mind.  She's still as sharp witted as she was when I was young.

Sunday night we had to admit Grandma into the hospital because she is having trouble breathing.  She has congestive heart failure and pneumonia.  The doctors have also found a mass in her lung, that could possibly be cancer.  If it is we have decided not to treat it, because the treatment would most likely kill my Grandma.  The doctors are giving her a 50/50 shot of living through this.  She also has Parkinson's disease.  And recently it has caused her to fall often.  I'm afraid that one of these falls is going to seriously injure her.
Many of my family members live out of state, and are starting to fly in this week.  They want to help my mom during this time and visit with my Grandma. 

She is a fighter, but I'm not sure if she can fight this.

My mom is still in the denial phase.  She is still very hopeful that everything will just get better.  My dad, ever the realist, thinks that death is just around the corner.  For me, I'm angry, sad, and trying to accept what is most likely going to happen in the near future.  But I'm struggling with how to cope.  How do you learn to say goodbye to the woman who has been the head of our family since before I was born.  I know that Grandma has led a very fulling life, but I'm just not ready to let her go.

~Earthy Mom


  1. After a full life, I am not even sure your grandmother wants to fight this. Maybe she is just ready to let go? Ask her. Talk to her. Make plans. And make the best of the time you have.

  2. This post reminds me so much of my own grandmother, who died at the age of 95, with her wits about her. I wrote a post about it on my blog http://www.melissawallace.com.au/2010/09/01/life-death-and-everything-in-between/
    It's hard to say goodbye to the matriarch of your family. I hope all goes well for all of you. Blessings!!