12 November 2014

Losing a loved one

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

It’s been a tough week and I’ll explain why.

The last funeral I attended was that of my paternal grandfather, around five years ago. In fact, I can count on one hand how many funerals in total I’ve attended in my life.

Losing a loved one is something I don’t have a lot of experience with.

But now, I have a bit more.

I always knew my maternal grandparents would pass. It’s a reality of life, they are 91 years old, and grandma was in shakier health due to the cruel disease of dementia/early on-set Alzheimers. In fact, recently, family and I had been doing some funeral planning for them. But just because we were planning for it, doesn’t mean I thought it would happen so soon.

And there is nothing that prepares you for when you get the call. Jess, Grandma had a small stroke. She is in the hospital. Then, the next day, you hear that grandma had another stroke, this one more serious. She has about 72 hours, you should come home now.

I will never forget hearing that last part. Standing in my apartment, dressed to go to a job interview and feeling the wind be knocked out of me.

The next 6 days are a blur. It starts with throwing clothes in a suitcase, crying on the train ride home, crying at the hospital when you hold her hand daily, telling her you’re there, and enjoying her last few lucid moments – where she tells you she loves you and that you were a good granddaughter. That breaks your heart.

Then things get more real. You are the one going to the funeral home to plan her cremation, getting the paperwork together for your grandpa to sign. Your 91-year-old grandpa who was married to grandma for 44 years and who is so heartbroken to lose the love of his life, that you cannot help but sob for him too.

Then, you see her in hospice, where she has far fewer lucid moments, in fact, soon she stops talking and opening her eyes altogether. She struggles to breathe and one day when you say goodnight and sweet dreams, you know that could be the last time you see her alive.

And you wait.

Waiting is the hardest part because you try to enjoy the time you have with her, but you know the woman you want to remember is gone. She has been gone for a while, mentally, but you selfishly don’t want her to go just yet. Or sometimes, you do, because the pain of seeing her hooked up to morphine and struggling to breathe is so unfair.

And then it happens. And as ready as you think you are, and as okay as you were with your last goodbye, when you see her for the last time, it brings you to your knees, literally.

The next few hours are a blur again, and you are so sad, but honestly….kind of relieved.

They say bad things happen in “threes.” And I really hope this is my third. I don’t know what I’m supposed to learn from fracturing my leg, losing my job and now losing my grandma, but it’s just cruel.

And now, I grieve, and I keep moving forward from here.

3 Comments

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my grandfather in a very similar way and I send you all my sympathy. Lots of love xo

  2. Caz says:

    I am so sad for you Jess and sending you lots of love, thoughts and peace your way.

    Losing grandparents who were such wonderful parts of our lives is hard. I remember with total clarity the last time I saw my maternal grandmother and exactly where I was when I heard about their deaths.

    I am so sorry for your grief.