I went to see my grandmother, Ghingy, for the last time today. That’s what we called my grandmother on my dad’s side of the family. I was her first grandchild and when I was little, I would call her “Ghingy”…I don’t know what I was trying to say, but that title stuck and all the grandkids after me called her that.
Just last month she was diagnosed with non-Hodkin’s Lymphoma, among other issues, and has been in and out of the hospital. Over the last week or two she has really gone downhill and today she was moved to hospice. I have battled with myself on whether or not I should go see her. At first I was hesitant to go because she was still her same old self, rude and bossing people around. I didn’t want my last memory of her to be unpleasant. But I knew I would regret it if I didn’t go…so when my dad told me today that she was moved to hospice I made up my mind to just go. I needed to go to mentally say goodbye to her; to let her know that I stopped by. My brother and I went in together and the lady who has helped her out at home for a while now was also there. She told my grandmother that her grandchildren had come to see her and my grandmother’s eyes tried to open and she started singing “You are my sunshine…” but she stopped after that and didn’t say anything else. It really caught me off guard and I could feel my eyes starting to tear up. That’s one of the very few nice things that has come out of her mouth towards me. I don’t know what she was thinking and I know she was pretty drugged, but I really do think she knew we were there. We didn’t stay long and left soon afterwards.
I don’t really know how to feel about all this. I’ve been to plenty of funerals, been through traumatic events, but I’ve never lost a family member this closely-related to me. I know that’s a good thing to be 32 and still have all 4 of my grandparents. Our relationship (and many other people’s relationship with her) was just so “stressful” and “difficult”. I’ve written about her before, here and here. Looking back on those posts now they seem a little harsh but I wrote them in the moment and that’s what I felt. It’s not so much that I will grieve her being there (because she wasn’t) or the relationship we had (because it wasn’t a great one), but I will grieve what we didn’t have and what she didn’t want to have. I just wish circumstances would have been better so that she could have played a bigger part in the family. She is a fascinating person with thousands of crazy and wild stories, but I never got to hear them from her and never will. She missed out on a lot by not being involved and not wanting to be involved with her grandchildren and family. She has great-grandchildren that she has never met, but live within 5 miles of. Being the sensitive and emotional person that I am, I take those things personally…how can you not? And then my heart breaks for my dad because that’s his mom. I know it’s stressful on him because he has been one of the few people with her through it all.
So, once again, I am reminded that life is too short. Just like my dad, brother, and I were talking about tonight…don’t wait until it’s too late. Whatever that “it” may be…life truly is too short. Don’t not do something if you know you’ll just regret it.