ESSAYS

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THE DAY AFTER GRAM DIED

Maybe I should’ve prefaced that post with “I’m not sad”—although I might’ve come across as a sociopath. I believe in a world beyond this one though, and I can’t imagine it being as miserable as the one my grandma was living in during the end of her 95-year life. What’s actually sad is that this happens to all of us.

These past six months or so, there was very little, and then nothing, left of her. She fell several times, and had several urinary tract infections, which led to subsequent trips—and stays—in the hospital, then at Hospice. She lost her mind to dementia soon after my grandfather passed three years ago, then rapidly lost her hearing to the point of almost complete deafness, and, towards the end, her vision deteriorated, after a fall that also broke her pelvis. By then, she couldn’t walk. Then finally, in the last days, her voice was barely a whisper, then only a smile, then dissolved into mere breathing. To see someone slowly dying—and then actively dying—is enough to make you relieved, if not happy, when they finally let go and move out.

What’s sad is that we all end up here, should we be so “lucky.”

You could see the life moving out of her as death crept in for the win. Her lust for life gone, shortly followed by her appetite, then the blood in her veins, leaving her feet cold and blue. Then her hands stiffened, her neck and arms. When I last saw her, two days before she was gone, she lied naked in a hospital bed set up at my mother’s house, occasionally writhing limbs or writhing in pain or attempting to cough, her eyes slightly open and gazing nowhere, her mouth dry and agape. My mother would drip drops of water onto her tongue. She’d lost the taste for food about two weeks ago and the ability to swallow it shortly thereafter.

So how could I be sad, when she finally exited this world and went into the great beyond? Sometimes the choice is obvious—so obvious that it isn’t a choice at all.

— March 15, 2018

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