My Grandma is dying. She was diagnosed less than two months ago with lung cancer that has spread like wild-fire into her spine and throughout her body. Chemo was a no go, because the cancer was too far gone, and Radiation has only been recommended to help shrink some of the larger tumors that are causing her so much pain she can’t even sit or stand, but not as a cure. She has deteriorated so quickly that as of this past Monday, she was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance while she had a heart attack, and is now being placed on palliative care.
In the simplest terms, she is waiting to die.
Death brings out the worst in everyone, and my mom has been trying her best to help, but things came to a head yesterday after she returned home from what could be her last time seeing her own mother. She spent the last week in BC, taking my grandma to and from the hospital and lawyers offices (will’s) and cooking, and cleaning for her, all while watching the woman who raised her wilt away to nothing.
My grandma can’t do anything for more than 5-10 minutes before having to have a nap because she is drained from exerting any energy. So, my sisters, N & R and I figured we should plan a trip, sooner rather than later to go visit her one last time.
R asked me to look into flight costs and find the best price (since I’ve done the most travel and have the best experience with booking flights). BUT because of R’s busy life, she’s only available like 2 out of the next 16 days and she wants to go there and back on the same day. ALSO since she’s on a strict budget, she expects me to find return flights for under $200. Ummmm yeeeeah. Highly doubtful. So then she brings up the fact that she saw some deal for flights to “somewhere in BC for $49 so it should be fine!” Um, the flights you saw go to a city 4 hours from where we need to be?!? So she recommends that we fly there and rent a car and drive the rest of the way.
What? You wanna fly inbound, in the morning, drive 4 hours, visit for 10 minutes, drive back 4 hours, catch another flight and be home in time to put your kids to bed the same night? Like it would just be much simpler to just fly straight to the city we need to be in, even if it means spending a little more money, the PITA factor will more than make up for it.
I told her I would work on it, but in the end I found a flight for $269 that she thought was cool. Either way, I’m good since my boss overheard the tail end of one of my calls with R and so I explained about my grandma and how I might need a day off next week and he was fine with that… SOOO cool in fact, that about 20 minutes later, he came by my desk and told me to let him know before I book my tickets because there might be some “arrangements” he can make. The co-owner of my company lives in the same place I have to go, and he said we can possibly write it off as a work trip saying I have to “meet” with the owner while I’m there for my 3 month review, and probably pay for it with points. So basically he’s willing to pay for my flight as a business expense, woo me!
But as it turns out, after all this arranging back and forth, looking for flights, rental cars, getting free trips from my boss, annoying calls between sisters… turns out my grandma no longer wants to have any visitors.
She has asked that nobody else comes to see her, since it’s becoming to overwhelming for her, and she’d rather people remember her as she was instead of how she is now, which I gather from my mom is pretty rough.
Ok, I totally get it. I don’t like people around when I’m sick, didn’t want people around when I gave birth. I don’t like indulging people to make them feel comfortable, I can only imagine how I would feel at that time in my life when I know I basically have nothing left time wise. Maybe I’d want to be surrounded by loved ones… but only if they were silent. I remember I screamed at the doctors to shut up when I gave birth, and then apologized profusely after lol. But sometimes just knowing people are there helps. You don’t need the nervous chitchat. You need peace, and you need people who can bring that peace into your life. And if they can be there with you at the end, then I would welcome them. If they want to try to settle their nerves and their uncomfortableness with death, then I don’t want them around me while I’m trying to die. Because I’m fine with death and dying. It’s part of life. Or more specifically it’s the end of life, but it’s something EVERYONE on this planet has in common. No matter how you lived, you will die. And I’m fine with that. I have no fear in death. When it’s done, it’s done. And when my grandma dies, I will obviously not be happy, but I will move on with my life, until I also die. No, I’m not heartless, I’m just ridiculously practical and probably to logical for my own good.
My mom on the other hand, like most people, is not handling it well. When I called her yesterday to see how her trip went and how she was doing, it was definitely bad timing. When she answered the call I could hear some yelling in the background, and my mom walking into her room.
She’d just been going through a heated exchange with another family member that didn’t end pleasantly at the time.
I had to spend the next hour on the phone with my mom trying to talk to her about it all, explaining where she “might, possibly, slightly” have been wrong due to her high emotions because of whats happening with grandma. Or actually perhaps she was right in her observations about the individual during the argument, but had not handled the situation well due to her emotional state.
Like I said, death brings out the worst in most people.
Unfortunately, we’ll all have to learn to deal with it soon enough.
-Our Lady Peace/4AM-