Family, Personal

Oh Grandma

My grandma stopped breathing again. Sunday. The family was gathered to celebrate the double-nephew birthday party. The children were out back tossing baseballs, swinging on swings, and running through sprinklers. Their parents, my mom’s siblings, were swinging back cold beers in the early September sun. Everyone gathered in the living room for the big birthday party event: opening the gifts. It was hot and my grandma needed to be on her oxygen. So the party came inside to her.

Logan was given a tyke sized four wheeler so he can do wheelies like his dad, Jake. Parker was probably opening gifts with a huge smile and his excited “oh” that he does when he is surprised. I can see the laughter and the smiles. Then they turned to my grandma to find her face blue and purple. Once again the fire trucks came and the volunteer paramedics loaded her onto the ambulance. Ethan clung to my mom and asked to look inside to see his great-grandmother before the vehicle sped off as they adjusted the tubes in her throat to keep the air flowing to her lungs. Her scarred lungs that failed her again. Scarred by countless bouts with phnemonia. Scarred by life itself.

I spoke to my mom last night. I had even spoken to my grandpa, he had answered. “Just fiddling with my computer,” he responded when asked what he was up to. I had called unaware, prior to receiving the email from my cousin Kelly that had so vividly described the shades of my grandmother’s face. Our conversation was brief. I had wanted to talk more, but my mom had to take my grandpa to the hospital.

This morning I woke up groggy and tired. I went through the day worried about a phone call or an email requesting a phone call. The pain in my head grew until I was bordering a migraine. We painted Scarecrows in Art. There was no news and even after chatting briefly with my mom online this evening, my grandma still lies in a hospital bed, breathing. No longer purple or blue. No longer on life support.

Is it selfish of me to want to see her again before she stops breathing and doesn’t start again? Is it selfish for me to think about the times we could have talked a little more so I could have learned more about her life? I’ve dealt with so much death in my family and in my life. But I have never dealt with a death that is impending. One that I know can happen. One that seems to have warning signs. Will it be any easier? I want to prepare myself. But I just don’t know how. Secretly I quiet myself and calm my fears, telling myself that everything will be fine. She will be ok, just like last time. But I am unsure. And scared. Who will hold me when I cry? I know it’s selfish to think this way. But when I am all I have in a town tucked into the nature of Switzerland, thoughts such as this pop into my mind as I sit at my computer watching dusk turn into night.

Ali and I bought our tickets to NYC. We arrive on December 19th in the evening. Then we will either take a train or a plane or rent a car and get to Detroit/Ann Arbor on December 19/20. We have over two weeks there. I am praying that I won’t have to fly back before then, alone. I take IBprofen and lay down for a nap, trying not to worry about things that I have no control over. Ali will tell you I have a hard time doing this. He certainly is right. I don’t want her to stop breathing before I see her, but there is nothing I can do, but pray. And wait.