Thursday, October 22, 2015

Because I could not stop for death...

It kindly stopped for me.
The Carriage held but just Ourselves – 
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility – 

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring – 
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – 
We passed the Setting Sun – 

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill – 
For only Gossamer, my Gown – 
My Tippet – only Tulle – 

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground – 
The Roof was scarcely visible – 
The Cornice – in the Ground – 

Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the
Horses’ Heads Were toward Eternity –

My grandmother is dying.

She's got cancer.  Does anyone die of anything other than cancer anymore?  Ugh.  My Pappy (her husband) died of pancreatic cancer.  My mom's parents died of bladder and lung.  Now my last Nanny, my favorite one out of any of them, lung as well.  Not smokers lung, just...that's where it lives.

She's hallucinating now.  It won't be long for her.  We thought it was going to be yesterday, so we all dropped everything we were doing and ran to her.  In the car I prepared this whole heartfelt speech to give to her.  I came in holding Liam and went to her bedside and I delivered it with gusto.  Sobbing and crying the whole time.  But I said what I needed to. 

I told her, "Nanny, YOU DID AWESOME.  You have raised us to be good people who love God.  You've taught us to pray.  You've been our prayer warrior.  Make sure you check in with Jesus before you go running to Pappy.  And when you find him, tell him we miss him every day.  Tell him we all found wonderful spouses and he'd love them.  But Nanny, you've done AWESOME.  And it's okay to go now.  We love you so.  Very.  Much."  And through the morphine and the blank expression on her face...she started to cry.  Her eyes were closed but her mouth crinkled up and she whimpered.  I repeated over and over- "I.  Love.  You."  She held my hand and wouldn't let it go.

Pastor Trevor came.  He prayed over her.  Read her scripture.  Assured her of her Salvation in Christ.  Prayed over her.  Prayed with us.  He took Liam over to play with his children, which worked out so well.  He brought us supper.  MAN, we're going to miss this guy.  He isn't even my Nanny's pastor.

So we sat.  And we waited.  Hospice nurse came.  "Could be hours...could be days."

So we sat.  And we waited.


Her heart is strong, but her body is failing.  I was reading their systems shut down one at a time- digestion first.  Heart and lungs last.  When you're sitting there watching someone die, your mind does weird things and goes weird places.  You start contemplating the meaning of life.  You start wondering how you will go.  Just because I have MS doesn't mean it will kill me.  It's not going to help my case though. 

I was sitting there on the sofa with my cousins, watching the breathing and knitting a blanket for a long awaited baby, contemplating how the end of life is SO MUCH like the beginning of it.  You're pregnant for SO LONG, and then you finally can't stand it and you must deliver.  Your brain stops loving the kicks and the caress of the belly, and you sorta get angry about it, which is the fuel to help you push that little sucker OUT.  When death is immanent, you make your peace with it.  You don't WANT it to happen, but you allow yourself to explore it mentally and you become "okay" with it.  If that's possible.  And then you start to see the suffering of the patient and the care givers and you think- okay, this NEEDS to happen.  And in that is the strength to get you through the actual breathing of the last breath.


Nobody knows our last breath.  Not even us.  I wouldn't want to know.

So we will continue to sit.  And wait.