My last remaining grandparent has been fighting a good fight these last few years. Worsening dementia and the loss of my grandfather over two years ago had put her on a downward spiral. Of course, she’s a feisty little thing, and refused to go down with out a fight. She’s been under the care of hospice for over 6 months now, always keeping the caregivers on their toes.
Sunday afternoon I received a text from my mother. For the second time in over two weeks, hospice felt that it was her time and she’d be passing shortly.
Sadly, this whole scenario had almost become old hat. We’ve gotten similar texts or calls where hospice had felt that she was going down hill and it wouldn’t be long. Of course, each time we responded believing it would the this time.
Emberly and I had gone to the park Saturday with some cousins, and had a great time. Since I knew it would be difficult to get Emberly to leave willingly, I had to come up with an errand. We were going to go to the flower store across the street from Gma’s assisted living facility.
We pulled up shortly after 12 and the shop was closed. A little upset we weren’t going to be taking flowers to Gma or seeing the koi pond at the flower shop, we were still determined to visit and have a joyous afternoon.
As per the usual, Gma was laying in bed sleeping. She awoke quite easily though, but told us she was feeling lousy. This was not the usual with her. She always put on a brave face and most likely didn’t remember how she was doing. Still, we had an enjoyable visit even with answering the same question 4 times. God love dementia.
When I left Sunday to be by her side, Emberly was a little concerned that she didn’t get to go with me, but playing and nap time overran her desire to steal Gma’s candy that day. She was in bed when I finally came home. The next morning, Emberly was up earlier than usual, in greater spirits than normal. It was a very welcomed surprise. Luckily it was too early for her to remember why I was gone the afternoon before, so I did not have to deal with the dreaded questions.
Yesterday was rough. My sister and I went in to town to take our mother a much needed caffeine fix since my mother spent the night with Gma. We had planned for a short visit followed by picking up lunch for our hubbies on our way back to work. Upon our arrival, we were greeted with Father giving Gma her last rights. Apparently it was serious this time. From 11:30 on, the hospice nurse was positive that it would happen very shortly. Minutes turned in to hours, which led to B picking Embers up from daycare and doing the nightly routine, having conversations well beyond her years yet not over her head of which I would soon be learning. After a few hour battle with horrid congestion, Gma finally took her last peaceful breath at 8:30 last night.
Everyone was in bed when I was finally able to return home after helping hospice tend to Gma’s body, and the funeral taking to prepare her for the next step. So, it wasn’t until this morning, after I had long been cried out, that B told me of his conversation with Emberly last night.
-She’s visiting Gma.
“I wanna visit Gma. Can I go?”
-No sweetie. Gma isn’t feeling very well.
“Well, I could give her a hug and a kiss. That would help.”
-That’s very nice of you, but Gma’s really sick honey. You can’t go over right now. Gma’s on her way to heaven to be with Hoss and Jackson.
“Oh, well, I could pick her up and carry her to Hoss and Jackson. I can help her!”
-That’s very nice of you honey, but we can’t carry Gma to where she is going.
I’m so glad that she and B were able to have that amazing conversation…and glad that I wasn’t the one stuck with those questions. I just wish I could face death with the same naive misunderstanding. At least I have her to make things brighter.
A few weeks ago, while taking my mother out to dinner, I pointed to the TV in the restaurant showing stock puppy footage. Emberly asked when we could get another doggy. I told her not until after the baby comes.
“Well, so, after the baby, can we have a puppy in your tummy?!”
Um, no. We’re not going to do that. Although, sometimes I wish the world were as magical as they perceive it to be.
RIP Gma. I hope to drink a glass of wine every night until I’m 89. You are an amazing woman and inspiration. We love you and will miss you deeply.