Life has been so busy lately that I haven’t had much time to blog. Between the military wife duties, the motherly duties, the interning duties, and the student duties, I have not had a chance to sit down and process my experiences over the last few months.
At least that is what I’m telling myself. “I don’t have time” is my go to excuse when I know that I should MAKE time for things that are important to me, but I really just do not want to do.
Blogging wasn’t really at the forefront of my problems until the other night. I was laying on the couch, with my daughter in my arms, listening to the rhythmic sound of her breathing. It was so peaceful. The serene moment was interrupted by LOUD intrusive thoughts about my Granny’s journey to death. In that moment, everything came rushing back-all of the intense emotions I felt as I helplessly watched her slip from this life into another.
I will always be thankful that I got the opportunity to be with her up until the very last second of her life. It’s small in comparison to the life she lived for me, for my children, and to virtually anyone that she cared about. I got to say goodbye in the most respectful manner possible. I got to be as close as one can possibly be to a person that has let go of this life.
I do not think about it much anymore. I see pictures of her, memories on Facebook and I get sad. I’m not controlled by sadness anymore. I think about the things that I relied on her for. I wish that I could still rely on her for those things, but I’ve gotten used to living without her, which is why those intense emotions I experienced the other day took me by surprise.
When I was taking care of her, I read a lot in my downtime about what to look for. I researched what signs to look for in the months leading up to death, in the weeks, in the days, in the minutes, in the hours,in the minutes. I watched her breathing constantly, counted her breaths, watched her chest rise and fall.
When she was first sent home on hospice, she was depressed, but still herself for the most part. She did the chores, laughed and joked with us, and still interacted with the kiddos. She wasn’t happy that Hospice delivered oxygen. She didn’t want it, but I made her promise to accept it “just in case” When I made her promise that, I didn’t know just how soon the “just in case” would come.
She started with more naps and less food. She was lucid when she was awake, for a few days after they brought the oxygen. I’ll always remember the day that I knew that it would all be over soon. She was up in the morning doing the dishes. We talked as she washed and I dried. We weren’t talking about anything too important. We talked about hospice, about the kids, about our love for ice cream. By that evening, she was not lucid. She was seeing things, hearing things, and she was very confused. It was so sad to watch her deteriorate. The kids had so many questions about why Granny wasn’t herself and I didn’t even have the answers to give them.
Shortly after, she became hard to understand. She went from being able to go to the bathroom on her own, sitting up in bed, and carrying on a conversation, to unrecognizable mumbles and ramblings. Her voice got weaker and her diction was not what it used to be.
Even though she went from talking in an understandable way to mumbling, she would still give us glimpses of her personality. My little brother was sitting by her bed talking to her. She was out–eyes closed, no movement–and she opened her eyes quickly, turned her head toward him and said “BOO!” They always tried to scare each other and I think that was her little way of telling him that it would be ok.
Her favorite person in the world was her Aunt Dolly. Those two talked on the phone for hours at a time, EVERY NIGHT for years! She always talked about how much she loved and favored Aunt Dolly. She decided to visit Granny. Granny had only woken up for a few brief moments the day Aunt Dolly came. We couldn’t understand what she was saying. But when Dolly walked in the door, Granny got this huge smile on her face. It was pure joy, in a way I hadn’t seen it for a while.
For all of the things that I have experienced, there are positives and negatives. Even though the feels coming rushing back to me, I will always be thankful for the positive side of letting my Granny go.