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Spontaneous Smile June 28th 2009 07:34 AM

She's Dying...
And I don't know what to do.

My Grandma is dying. I was just told today. Even though I knew that she wasn't doing well (And hasn't been for the past 2 years), it's still left me hollow, with the echoing words, "She's dying..."

I visited her earlier today. She's been sick the last few years; sudden bowel movements, diarrehea, stomach pains, being weak and tired, lost a lot of weight. Today though, as we sat and talked to her, she seemed even more tired, and not to be rude but, overdramatic in a sense. But I brushed it off. The give away that something was wrong: When my Mom hugged her goodbye and the hug lasted a while and Grandma whispered something into my Mom's ear.

Usually, that wouldn't mean anything to everyone. But she's been sick. She has her good days and her bad days, she doesn't have much strength. As we walked out of their house, I casually asked Mom (Knowing that I wasn't going to get a sincere answer) "Mom, is she dying?" Mom put it off for a second and then when we got into the car she said, "Oh, Mariah, we don't know what's wrong with her. :embarrassment" So I just assumed that she was telling the truth, since test after test after test, Grandma has come out fine.

When I got home from a club activity, Mom wanted to talk to me. When I sat down, the way her voice dripped the word, "Mariah, honey," I stopped her, "Someone died?!" Because she always has this voice when she's about to tell me something bad.

She said, "No...but you were right about this afternoon."

From that point on, My mom explained to me that my Grandmother had Pancreatic Cancer and that we weren't sure how long she was going to live; be it a few more months, or another year.

I lightly snapped, "Why didn't they find it sooner!?" My Grandma had test after test performed on her for the past two years. She recently had a stint put in her liver, because she was looking jaundice. Apparently, they had found the real problem when they performed the procedure, but I wasn't told.

Mom said, "It came fast." She also told me that my cousins didn't know anything about it. I was told because I was catching on, and because Grandma is going to need a lot of help during the next few months- cleaning up the house, clearing out the storage buildings, visiting with people, etc.

Mom didn't say that there was a chance that she'd live. She merely said that she might live a few more months or a year. So it's probably too late to try and stop it. For the mean time, Grandma is going to try and put on some weight and get stronger so that she might live longer.

It's taking a huge toll on Papa too- her husband of 50 years. Mom said that when Grandma got her stint put in, that he wanted to say a prayer. When he did, you could hear the tears in his voice. That thought, until that point I had been cool and composed with the news, drove me to tears.

My emotions on this are all mixed. I'm sad, I'm relieved, I'm confused, I'm regretting everything I've ever done or said that might have left a scar on her heart.

When my parents were getting divorced, My Grandma and I fought all the time. She was around too much for me to handle (For I was easily irritated), and she would get fed up with my attitude and set me down- then we'd go at it. I remember once, she asked me what I thought about her. I told her, "You're selfish and childish." she took it with a thoughtful face.

That was only one of our fights. Despite the cruel things I said, I can't bring myself to take them back. It's not just that I have too much pride, but I still think that those things are true. No longer under the influence of my father, I've come to make my own opinions of my grandmother. However, those opinions that my father made, are also my own that I've come to observe over the years.

I would be so mad at my Grandma that sometimes I would wish she were dead. That maybe my life would be easier if she weren't around to bug me. Thinking back on it, it drives tears to my eyes. I never meant any of it, and I knew it. But thinking that I used to be so hostile towards her, makes me cry.

There are so many questions left in the air that I need to know, so many things I need to say, so many thing I want to tell her-whether it be serious, funny, or simple day-to-day things. I don't want her to go without knowing that I am sorry and that I do love her, no matter what I might have said when I was a spoiled thirteen year-old.

It hurts to think that she won't see me grow up past sixteen. That she won't see me and my cousin get married. That she won't get to see her youngest granddaughters grow into the talented women that they are sure to become. It makes my heart break.

I'm just so mixed up in emotions. I'm sad, because she's going to die. I'm relieved, because we won't have to worry about her anymore, and so that she won't be in pain anymore. I'm confused all together. I don't know how I should feel, how I should act. This is the first time someone this close to me has died, aside from a dog. Should I be mad at myself for thinking the thoughts I used to have? Should I be straight-forward on things I need to say and hear? How should I act around her? How do I stay strong for my Mother (who is a total Mama's girl) But how do I stay strong without seeming insensitive- like the old me would have done? What do I say when people come up to me and say that they're sorry for my loss? How do I forgive myself for everything I've ever said to her?

eunoia July 1st 2009 01:21 PM

Re: She's Dying...
Hey, Mariah.

Nothing on this earth can prepare you for what is to come. You can practice your reaction to losing your grandmother time and again. You can talk about it, think about it, and cry; when she is gone it will hurt, but it will be okay. You have known your grandma is sick for a long time and it might help to ease the pain, a little, but as much as I wish I could tell you that there is some way for you to get ready for this, there is not.

What you can do, and I hope you will, is spend the remaining time you have with your grandma in a way you will never regret.

It makes sense that your emotions are confusing to you, right now. That sadness, the relief and regret, they are all normal, everyday emotions that you are feeling magnified and run together because you know, for sure now, that something heartbreaking is going to happen to you and to your family.

Try to understand that she does not blame you for the things you said as a child. It is hard to believe that, ourselves, but from experience I can tell you it is true. My own grandmother and I have traded bitter words time and again but, Mariah, like your grandma loves you, my grandma loves me. Nothing, not a single word I could say, could lessen that love one bit. And I hope you know, deep in your heart, that she does not blame you. Chances are, truth be told, she forgets; we tend to remember our worst indiscretions for years while our loved ones move on, forgive, and forget.

If you have questions, ask them. If there is something you want or need to say, do so. If it will help you to apologize, I am sure she would be willing to hear you. You can never tell someone you love them too much.

It is okay to feel anger, but do not blame yourself for what you thought when you were younger. Just like we say things we do not mean, sometimes, otherwise kind and good people can have negative thoughts, now and again.

How do you forgive yourself? You just do. Knowing that forgiveness is what your grandma would want for you, let it go.

Please don't ever hesitate to let me know if you need anything; I'm always around. Take care of yourself, Mariah. You will pull through this and you are not alone.

Emzy July 1st 2009 03:25 PM

Re: She's Dying...
That's a really sad story, and it's horrible to know that a family member is dying, it's also a horrible word and makes you feel so down almost instantly, I lost my Grandad last year and I'm still finding it hard.

Like Jes said, spend time her. When the time comes for her to go, she won't be in anymore pain, you won't have to worry that she's ill or getting sicker by the day. Nobody can tell you how to except the fact that she's going to go soon, but don't let it get you down all the time. (It's easier said than done, I should know.)

Be there for your Mum, she'll need you as much as you need her at the moment. Brush the arguments under the carpet for now, they arn't important. What is important is you support your Mum, and yourself. Comfort your Grandma and make sure she knows you care and love her, it's not easy I know, infact it'll be really hard. You'll pull through and you can remember the good times you spent with her, instead of remembering the arguing and bad times.

My thoughts are with you and your family x

Spontaneous Smile July 11th 2009 04:29 AM

Re: She's Dying...
Thanks guys. I was beginning to wonder why no one was replying to my thread. But I guess I sort of realize why when I asked people, or brought it up, that they weren't able to give me a straight answer as to what I should do or how to deal with this. Maybe I already know the answer.

We found out for sure that she probably won't make it.

I'm worried for my Papa as well. I'm wondering how he's going to be able to make it around in that two story house without Grandma around or how he's going to take care of himself (He's suffered from 2 heart attacks in the past.)

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