The evening news ended and my grandfather, 90, was walking from the bathroom to the bedroom to get some rest. My grandmother (Oma) was knitting in the living room and still watching TV. Their eyes met. He smiled at her, waved, and blew her a kiss—his way of saying good-night. Thirty seconds later, Oma heard a disturbingly loud thump in the bedroom. She called out his name and ran into the bedroom to find him lying on the floor. She screamed out to my sleeping mother (who had moved in with them just one week prior and with whom my grandfather told he was glad she was there so that Oma wouldn’t be all alone) to call 9-1-1.
He was pronounced dead an hour later at the hospital.
It was such a shock to get the call from my mother in the middle of the night.
So many things ran through my mind and every inch of me screamed in aching pain.
My beloved, highly respected, very healthy grandfather was gone… just like that.
His death changed me, that’s for sure. And, I believe, it changed me for the better: it was then that I truly realized that life is a gift that can be taken from us at any moment.
That was seven years ago. Since his passing, I’ve really done my damndest to live each day to the fullest. Even during not-so-great times like after I miscarried in 2008.
But now… Oma is dying.
She’s been dying for several years now. A slow death thanks to Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). A gruesomely slow death to the absolute most giving, most nurturing, most loving woman you would ever meet.
My heart not only aches for her, it bleeds.
2013 has not been kind to her at all. She really didn’t think she would see Christmas 2012 and yet here we are in mid-March and she’s still breathing… barely.
She cries to my mother, her primary caregiver, asking why she can’t die. Why everyone else can die, but she can’t.
She’s literally skin and bones.
The CHF has her breathing through oxygen tubes 24/7. It’s also destroyed any ability to eat.
Witnessing all of this… supporting my mom as she cares for her dying mother 24/7… it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It’s downright cruel the way this is happening to her!
I’m not a religious person. I was raised Catholic but I haven’t practiced in a good 20 years. This is a time when I wish I did practice. Maybe then my prayers would be answered?
I’m not wanting her to keep living. I’m not looking for a miracle here. I just want peace for her.
Dear God, Dear Universe, Dear Who/Whatever please give her peace. Please.