It is amazing how much time we waist worrying about death. I (as discussed in an earlier blog) have spent many hours obsessing about the subject and I do not think that I am alone. But for the past few days, my thoughts and feelings on the subject have changed drastically. Suprizingly, the soon death of someone near and dear to me, has opened my eyes to the subject. To understand what I mean, you need to know a little bit about the spectacular person to whom I am refering, my grandma!
Grandma Darlene (my dad's mom) has had an amazing, tough, love-filling life that is winding down quickly. She is one of my biggest role models and has taught me a great deal about being a tough woman. She was married to my Dad's dad, with three young kiddos when he decided to leave her for his mistress. She was a single mom for awhile, working as a police woman when she met the man I consider my grandpa (Vince-who my son is named after). She worked as a cop for many years and later became a 911 operator, a job which most people could never do. She divorced my grandpa Vince later on and married my grandpa Bill right around the time I was born.
Grandpa Vince died when I was 12 and Granpa Bill died two years ago in July. She also outlived her first husband. Even though my grandma has many qualities to be admired, she is human and has one specific quality that should be avoided- she is a chain smoker and has been for as long as my dad can remember. For many years, we (her fmaily) tried to get her to stop, but eventually came to the conclusion that it would actually be worse for her health if she did.
For the past few years, grandma has been in and out of the hospital for various health issues. We have prepared for the worst on many occasions, but she has always come out of it. This time, it isn't going to happen. I have spent the past two days watching my tough, sassy, fiesty grandma deteriorate before my eyes. Yesterday she made the decision to die. No more IV's, no more meds, and no more machines. She is ready to go.
Before I saw her yesterday, I was a little angry about her decision and selfishly wanted for her to fight. But after seeing grandma last night, I know that she has made the right decision for herself. She was so happy and clear of mind that it made me re-think things. She seemed relieved and at peace and that makes me happy and at peace. There is still a huge, selfish part of me that just wants grandma here with me as long as she can be, but I now completely understand her and her decision.
She is a smart woman who has been through a lot in her life and has made many life decisions on her own, if she is tired and ready, then why should I feel anything but happy for her. Do not get me wrong, I am balling while I am writing this. When she goes it will kill me and the rest of my family, but all I want for her is to be happy and free of pain and stress and that is the reaction that I am getting from her since she made the decision to be done.
I think that we may go through all of the hard things in life, to help prepare us for death. We have lost three grandparents in my family in the past 3 years-all of which were ready to go. It just dawned on me after seeing my grandma, that this is the way it is supposed to be. You live until you are tired and ready for the next stage in life. Although, I have many years (hopefully) before I have to worry about death, it makes me feel better to know that some day it will be a welcomed chapter.
I competely came to peace with the situation last night. Right before we left grandma at the hospital, I sat down next to her holding Liam. She said that she wanted to give him a kiss, so I bent down, holding him down to her. She gave him a kiss and then they both smiled. I was about to say goodbye myself (thinking that this may be the last time) when Liam leaned down toward grandma all by himself. She asked if he wanted another kiss, he smiled, and she gave him one. At this point I felt so relieved. I don't really know why. Maybe it was that Liam seemed (I know he didn't) to understand that grandma needed one more kiss or maybe it was the way grandma looked so happy and cheerful when he bent down, but either way, we all seemed relieved- grandma, myself and Liam.
I know that when my grandma really does let go and pass on, it will be horrible and extremely difficult for all of us, but I also know that she will be happy and at peace. I will miss her everday and I will make sure that Liam and any of my future children will know all about their amazing great-grandma and the impact that she had on her family. I love you grandma!