It’s been two years to the date that my Grandmother passed away and I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I miss her…without a doubt, I miss her every day. It just feels like time sped up. Two years passed by like two days. So many things have happened in my life in these past two years that she didn’t get to witness. I graduated college, for one. About a month before she died, or even before she knew she was going to die, she mentioned about wanting to see me graduate. I remembered that while I sat at her bedside and held her hand.
I remember one day. I skipped all of my classes and went to the hospital to see her. She had just come out of surgery, she wasn’t very responsive and the all of the outlooks were pretty negative. I was there before the rest of my family came by that day. It was the most alone I had ever felt with her. The nurse was in and out of the room most of the time. Checking her levels and making sure she was okay. I sat there and held her hand which was constrained to the bed. My Grandmother had known that this was it. She didn’t want to be put on a breathing machine. She didn’t want to be resuscitated, so while she was still cognitive and awake she tried to pull out her own breathing tube and disconnect all of her IVS. My Grandmother was a nurse for the whole of her life. I knew she had seen this sort of scenario played out before and I knew that if she was going to leave, she wasn’t going to prolong it.
I sat there and cried. I still to this day wonder if she heard me. I told her how sorry I was about how busy I had been. How I neglected the family for school and work. She had told me for years that I needed to slow down and stop to look around every once and a while, but I always blew off her advice. Then I found myself there, holding her hand, watching her in her last days, and I knew what she had meant.
She died about a week later and only about 45 minutes after I had left the hospice. My dad sent me a single text that said “Grandmom has gone home.” And she’s been there for the past two years. I think about what’s next a lot. I wonder what is beyond this life. Is there a god? Is there something greater waiting for us? And is this life only a portal to the next? But I think these questions invoke a real fear–what if there’s nothing?
Religion is a funny topic. I want to say we rely on it in order to make facing our own mortality that much easier. It’s easy to stare at death and not be afraid when you know what’s beyond that bright light at the end of the tunnel. I haven’t quite figured it out and I’m well aware that I may never figure anything out. But something is telling me there’s got to more. This life is too petty to be the only thing we get.
I miss you Grandmom, every minute, every second, and every moment of each and everyday.
In case you’re wondering–this was the last song I heard her sing. Lucky me, I was able to record it, but I can’t listen to it.