Some days it’s easy to ignore the realities life throws in your direction. Other days, reality hits you so hard it’s difficult to breathe.
As I was lying in bed last night, I thought about what it would be like to lose my dad. He’s always been there, calm and ready to listen. My mom and I talked on the phone yesterday. He seems to be doing better, almost as if nothing happened. But something did happen. We just don’t know what or how much damage it may have caused. Maybe it was nothing and we’re making it out to be more than what it really is. But what if we’re not?
She talked about finding his life insurance papers and needing to start making funeral arrangements. Sounds grossly morbid, but when my grandmother died, she had most of it already planned (burial plot, casket, funeral home, etc) which made the process for my mom and my uncles a little easier to bear. So I suppose that’s what she’s doing as well. It may help in the process of mentally dealing with the impending loss.
I was born to parents who didn’t want me so my adopted mom and dad took me in when I was just a baby. They’re all I’ve ever known. My dad started a new family after the death of his first wife. He supported my mom in the decision to adopt two children and start over late in life, even after having four children of his own. My mom always said he was so supportive. He would get up early in the morning to get me out of bed and walk me around their apartment and tell me all the stories about the photos hanging on their walls so that my mom could sleep just a little bit longer.
The age difference between my mom and dad has become more pronounced over the last several years, but even more so now. He looks like an old, sickly man instead of the strong man he used to be. It’s terrifying to imagine what losing him will be like. Maybe we’re all getting ahead of ourselves. Maybe he’ll be fine for a long time still. Who knows? With all the advances of modern medicine, people still die of terrible things while taking dozens of pills until they finally just give up. Sounds deeply depressing, but it’s true.
I talked to him on the phone last night, and he didn’t even mention that anything had happened. Denial maybe? Or he just doesn’t want to talk about it because it’s scary thinking about the future. I desperately want him to call my cell phone and leave a message. After last week’s Postsecret update, so many people have voicemails from lost ones so that they can remember them and hear their voices. The cell phone carriers also work with people to get those messages saved so they will have them forever. I want that.
Thinking about the past, there aren’t that many photos of us together. We weren’t much about taking photos when we got older. Regret surrounds me. All the what-ifs and should-haves. I get the sinking feeling that the sand is slowly coming to an end in the hourglass.
It brings me back to the death of my grandma a few years back. It was the only death I had been keenly aware of and I was present for the last few hours of her life. I remember it vividly. We knew she was sick and wasn’t getting better. She took a turn for the worse when I was getting ready to visit my college of choice for undergrad. It was a Spring day in April 2004. Spring was coming and the forsythia was blooming. I remember thinking how beautiful it was and how she would have loved to see them in full bloom. We got back late that night, and I went to visit her in the nursing home. It was like I entered an alternate universe seeing someone I didn’t know gasping for breath. It was horrifying.
I’m scared. I’m not ready for this. Not yet. I really didn’t think it’d be so soon.
Sunday will mark five years since my sister died. I had a hard time losing my sister to bone cancer. She fought for over three years with bone cancer that caused her daily pain and stress.
Her life ended when she’d had too many surgeries and her body couldn’t keep up. Losing my sister is the hardest thing I’ve experienced.
I don’t feel bad for her now, because she’s free from all of that. But I do miss her; more than I miss my grandparents who have passed away. Her death was a trauma for me, as her 27-year-old soul was ripped away from my family and we were left with a forever empty chair at the table.
Now, I have a daily regimen of seven medications that keep me here on this earth from antidepressants to mood stabilizers and sleep aids. I fight suicidal thoughts and feelings near-constantly during this time of the year.
I have two girls; the younger one is my lifeline. I was pregnant with her when my sister died and I live in fear that she will die and leave me just like my younger sister left my mom.
My faulty logic says that little sisters die; I am so afraid that I will lose her. Her presence is one of the biggest comforts to me, which makes me love her more than her sister.
There, I said it: I love one kid more than the other.
What can I say? What else is there to do but keep pushing on, trying to move past a pain that is so old and yet so fresh.
Three weeks ago my grandma fell and broke her neck.
Three weeks ago she was rushed to Peoria to see if they could fix her.
At 82 with severe Parkinson’s Disease, degenerative bone disease, (from which she’d lost a whole 12 inches off her height) dementia, and multiple other health problems, we didn’t know what the options were.
The surgeon suggested surgery to repair the fracture. He was hopeful that it would work. Do nothing and she could become a paraplegic if she so much as coughed too hard. Or she could live with the neck brace, which she hated, her lungs could fill up with fluid and she could develop pneumonia.
In such poor health, that’s not good.
We opted for surgery; really the only option. Grandma was scared but we all told her we loved her. I told her we would go dancing after she was done as she hasn’t walked in over two years.
She smiled and held our hands, said she loved us, and off she went.
Surgery went well and they were able to fix the break. That was not the major hurdle though. Even in good health, Grandma has never done well with anesthesia. Two days before her fall, the dentist didn’t even want to give her a local to fix a couple teeth as she’s allergic to Novocaine.
After surgery, she was put into a regular room and about an hour later, her vitals crashed.
She was gasping for breath. She looked so very scared. She gripped my hand as a wonderful nurse held the oxygen mask on her for close to an hour until they were able to get a bed ready in the Surgical ICU. Once she was settled in the ICU, we each took turns going to see Grandma. She was on a ventilator to help her breathe and give the swelling a chance to go down after surgery.
This was against her wishes and she was miserable.
She had the vent in for 3 days until it was removed. She did so well.
They observed her for a day in the Surgical ICU (SICU), then transferred her down to another room for a few days.
When she was ready, she was discharged. They didn’t send her back to her assisted living apartment, but to a skilled nursing facility with hospice. Everyone came to visit. Friends, grandchildren, family, everyone. Someone was by her side 24/7. She would talk a little, barely a whisper. Grandma looked at pictures and had us to sing to her while we sat by her side. She told us that she saw my grandpa who’d passed away in 1978.
She told us all of the beautiful things she was seeing and hearing. It was amazing to listen to her. She told us so many stories. She told us there would be no more pain there and no more wheelchairs. We all laughed and cried and held her hand.
On Tuesday November 16, Grandma took her last breath while my mom sang to her. My mom said it was very peaceful. Grandma wasn’t afraid like she had been in the hospital. I am so very thankful for that. I miss her, maybe more than I can ever express. My kids miss her too. They are hurting. I have given them songs that help them feel better, or so they say. I don’t know where to go from here. I don’t know how to fix their hurt, or mine.
My maternal grandmother has been battling with medical issues since she herniated a disk at the age of 20. She fought through a crushed vertebrae, arthritis, knee replacement surgery, depression, and ovarian cancer to give her love to her three children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. This past month, the cancer came back, and she tried a second round of chemotherapy.
At the age of 87, it took a serious toll on her already poor balance, and she decided that she’d had enough of the treatments.
All I can do is pray that hospice can help her enjoy the time she has left, because my heart is breaking to see my Nonna so miserable.
My paternal grandmother, my Nan, has never taken good care of herself. As long as she’s lived in her own house, her diet has consisted of pizza, fast food, pie, ice cream, and Coke. Most of the time she hardly eats anything. Not surprisingly, her lack of nutrition over the years has led to osteoporosis, and more recently, pneumonia.
I recently went to visit her in the hospital, and I was enraged at what I saw.
She was emaciated.
Even after a week of antibiotics, she lacked the strength to stand on her own. In hopes of stimulating an appetite, we brought her a cheeseburger from Wendy’s. She fumbled it with trembling hands for a bit before saying, “This burger is so heavy. I can barely lift it.”
As hard as I try, I can’t find the sympathy or grief for my Nan that pours out of me when I think of my Nonna.
Both situations are awful, but all I can feel for my Nan is frustration because she’s done this to herself. All of this could have been prevented.
This anger that I feel scares me, because at this rate it’s going to rob me of my closure. I want to be able to let go.
More than anything, I’m dreading having to watch my parents go through the same thing.
Just yesterday I was reading posts at this site. Shedding sympathetic tears and yet at the same time being so grateful that I had nothing to post here. My gratefulness was premature.
For all intense and purposes, my grandfather died at 8:30 last night. He actually died at 6:20 this morning.
At 8:30 last night my grandfather shot himself in the head. Even after that and being on no life support it took the rest of his body 10 hours to die. 10 hours that my father and mother waited at the hospital all the while knowing that what they were waiting for was a pronouncement of death for my father’s father.
When my mom called me last night, I knew intelligently, that my mom calls my pop-pop “Pop”, and when she called I could tell by her tone that something had happened. Someone had died and at 91, my grandfather was – of course – the most logical answer. But he was healthy. Healthier than most men 10 years his junior and his mind was sharp as a tack, but I knew that it had to be him. However, when I heard the words “Pop shot himself tonight.”
I was thrown immediately into an hysterical state and just started screaming, “Pop-pop or my dad?!?!? Pop-pop or my dad?!?!?”
I’m numb. I’m at work today because I need normal. I need routine. When I actually stop and really think about it, my body shuts down and I go into a near catatonic state. My body’s defenses are too high right now. Too ready to go into flight mode. I need normal. For at least today.
But nothing will ever be normal again. My grandfather killed himself. And my aunt who lives with him was home at the time. I don’t know what to think. I’m devastated. I’m angry. And I feel so awful for my dad. Beyond awful.
When dad called me this morning to tell me that Pop-pop had finally passed away, he broke down and asked me not to hate Pop-pop. Which I never could. I loved that man more than anything. He asked to please not think less of him. And I don’t. Then he asked me to please not be angry at Pop-pop. I told him I wasn’t. I told him I didn’t understand, but that I wasn’t angry.
I hope it’s not always wrong to lie.
If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, please remember that suicide is never the answer.
Call the National Suicide Hotline (US): 1-800-273-8255