I’ve touched on my grandmother before, I’ve wrote a few entries that are now private, but this is one I plan to let stay public. This is basically the recount of yesterday, October 4, and today October 5- with a small write up on how the last days came to be. While, yes, this is deeply personal, maybe somebody out there will one day read this and get comfort from it.
My grandmother passed away at 2:18 A.M. on October 5, 2012. It was the day of her wedding anniversary and the day of her son’s birthday.
Let’s start with Friday, September 28, 2012. It was the day she went to her cancer doctor for a consultation after she found out the day before that she couldn’t take chemo (Thursday, September 27, 2012). She was told chemo was killing her faster than she was dying. The doctor refused to give her chemo. I remember him saying, “I don’t think you’re going to die this week or even this month…” She had had a ‘breathing’ spell, I can’t quite remember which days but it was the week (I think) of her doctors app., she had become unresponsive. My grandfather had had her in a trance on a Sunday morning, and then she just became limp. She did improve after a few days of home care (she had refused to go to a hospital). But because she was so weak, the doctor made it clear to her that she could not take chemo. He then recommended Hospice. She personally decided she wanted Hospice Advantage to come to our house.
Hospice was called Friday, September 28, 2012, and she officially became a patient on Saturday, September 29, 2012.
I knew, I knew she was going to give up. The way her shoulders had sagged, and her saying, “Well, God’s not going to take me before he gets ready.” and “I’m so glad I don’t have to come down here anymore. I’m glad I don’t have to suffer anymore.” She was so tired of not being able to breath.
Flash forward to Sunday and her health was deteriorating. She was talking and sort of eating. It was either that night or Monday night she started to have another breathing spell. I’m thinking it was Monday night. She didn’t want to call her hospice nurse and she steadily became unresponsive. My aunt spent the night Tuesday and Wednesday, then went home Thursday. She was supposed to come back Friday to spend the night again and help watch my grandmother. My uncle and his wife and kids were also supposed to come to celebrate my grandmother’s wedding anniversary and his (her sons) birthday. My aunt and I were going to go grocery shopping, but something had told me I didn’t want to be far away from the house on Friday.
Now we’re at October 4, 2012. My grandmother was now on liquid morphine, which kept her asleep. I still do not agree with the way they told us to give it to her, or to even give her liquid at all. It was suggested (told) we give her a syringe full every 1 to 2 hours. Instead, my mother gave it to her every 4 hours. Even then, we couldn’t wake her to give her other medicine (which we were told not to) or even to eat/drink. It was my own opinion, which my uncle shared, that we stop with the liquid morphine and go with crushing the short acting morphine pill- which at 12:45 A.M. (October 5, 2012) we did.
That night, my uncle stayed over and my grandmother’s sister did as well. We all talked and settled into chairs. At around 10:30 P.M. my uncle and I ate and were discussing a medicine call Atropine- I don’t like that medicine at all. I honestly believe that stuff contributed to her death. That’s a personal opinion because her health had been improving and then she was given those drops and it rapidly went down hill.
I went and took a shower at about 12:15 A.M. on Friday and then afterwards decided that I’d try to get some sleep. After saying my goodnights it was almost 1 A.M. My grandmother had still been unresponsive with just occasionally opening her eyes. My grandfather had said he had talked to her and she remember what Friday was- their anniversary. Other than that, she knew we were there, but we couldn’t wake her to feed her. Her sister, my aunt, my mom, and my uncle always trips poking small ice chips in her mouth and that night my uncle had frozen her an Ensure, in the hopes that we could poke small frozen pieces of that in her mouth to feed her.
I then went to sleep. I was woken up at about 2:25 A.M. by my mom and told me grandmother was gone. I can’t accurately describe my feelings. I remember jumping out of bed and hearing wailing. Honest to God wailing- it didn’t register on me that it was my uncle at the time. My stomach churned, there was so much fire burning in my gut at the time. I remember I hurt so bad, my stomach hurt so so bad. My grandmother’s sister was at my grandmother’s side begging her to wake up, to not leave her. She was pushing on her and I just watched, not sure what to do. Her face was full of tears and she looked at me, but didn’t really see me. I remember her saying things, but I can’t tell you what she said to me. I don’t know. My uncle had lost control and cried, and cried. Even now, I can hear it, I can hear them, I can hear everything.
My mother was on the phone, calling my aunt. Hospice was on their way. I had had to dial the phone for my grandmother’s sister twice. I just stood there, not quite sure what to do, listening, watching. My mother, bless her heart, didn’t cry and was the strong shoulder for most of the day. My grandfather too. Both rocks of support. Hospice arrived and time of death was 2:18 A.M. I did odd things then, refill the cooler with ice, make sure there were plenty of drinks. My aunt came in, I watched her crying as she went straight to my grandmother. I didn’t cry. I wanted to, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop it once I did and I had other things to do. I looked toward my mom and grandfather as an example.
We had a funeral home come in and take my grandmother. A deputy was also there and through the haze she had watched us like a hawk. I don’t know if she thought we were suicidal or what. It bugged me to have her there, to have so many hospice people. We all said goodbye to my grandmother before she moved and did cry some then. The absolute worst thing though was my uncle watched as she was rolled out and it tore him up.
I didn’t touch her body. Maybe that’s wrong of me. My mom, aunt, everyone was kissing her, and I didn’t. But I want to remember kissing her and getting kisses back. She would kiss my cheek and leave me tons of kisses. One of the last coherent things she said to me was, “I sure do love you.” That sticks out to me so much now and I wish with all my might that I can remember what I did to make her laugh and say that.
So, yes, she died today at 2:18 A.M. but I needed to type everything up so that I could remember and not forget what happened. I’m not going back over and reading this. I’m not editing it. Things may not make sense in this post. But I have it written down, and when her funeral has happened Sunday and whenever I feel like I can read this again, I will.
I miss her so much.