Poll of a Billion Monkeys

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Labyrinth - Burying the Past

Labyrinth - Burying the Past

My old man came through his cancer surgery ship-shape and Bristol fashion. Apparently they got it all and it was small and contained.
Thanks for all of the prayers and well wishes.

My grandmother died about two weeks ago. Last of my grandparents and the last of the great grandparents for my kids as well.
I haven't felt that way about a death in a long time. She was ninety and had a helluvah life, outlived my grandpa by 15 years. But at the end she had Alzheimer's and her day was over. Eventually she became shriveled and helpless, like a baby.

When she was younger she always feared death for some reason but about three or four years ago she told me she was ready and prepared and looking forward to it. I knew then she was ready but still it took awhile.

I got to say goodbye and stayed with her till near the end. I went into the nursing home and sat holding her hand for about four hours. Until she began to turn cold in preparation. I made extensive observations and notes of what was happening to her, something I do with anyone I am around who is dying or ill. Her feet went numb and cold first then it gradually proceeded up her legs and then to her torso and hands.

I took my crucifix and since we had the whole morning together with no-one else around, except an occasional nurse, I gave her Last Rites myself and prayed for her and blessed her. I let her hold my crucifix while I did but she was only partially conscious.

Finally everyone else arrived (the other family members) and I went to get something to eat. When I got back she was in steep decline and stopped breathing for about 15 seconds or so. My family was convinced she was dead. I checked for a pulse and couldn't feel one (her blood pressure was already low enough to pass for dead). They all kissed her and started to walk out of the room. But apparently her heart had yet to stop. When she had the death rattle and expelled her lungs her breathing caught again. She lived about another six hours after that but her eyes were already glassy and she never regained any real consciousness.

I had a hard time not laughing when she fooled everyone with her last fake death. She had fooled the family so many times before, at least ten or twelve times I remember over the years. Things that should have killed her she always seemed to bounce back from. But not this time. This time she was finally worn out and exhausted.

I cleared the room out and got to say a final goodbye and then went home. She was a helluvah old Irish dame.

She was at least as much mother to me as my natural mother. And in many ways we had much more in common.
She was down to earth, witty, funny, laughed like a little schoolgirl at my jokes, she was easy to tease and I liked tickling her and scaring her. She was humble, occasionally a stubborn ass, fair, and a very good woman. I hated like hell to lose her. But she was ready for something a lot better. And she deserved it.

I'm gonna miss her though. A lot.
God bless you woman.
Remember me in your prayers, cause I'll sure remember you.

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