Friday, March 13, 2015

Layers

Saying goodbye can be tough. Other times, not so much. I'm currently experiencing both of those at the same time with the same person.

As some of you may remember, my grandmother has had a brain tumor for the last 3 1/2 years. It's been a tough situation for all of us, especially considering she was diagnosed the same year that her husband died. But she beat the odds & had done a really good job of fighting it until recently. 

A few months ago we found out that the chemo wasn't working anymore, so she was pretty much out of options. One of my cousins & I took her to Duke to see a specialist & discuss what, if anything, could be done. While surgery was a possibility there was a huge chance that she'd never recover fully. She started talking about being ready to go to heaven & just being done with everything, & decided to stick with the chemo on the off-chance that it would keep the tumor at the size it was. But then she found out that it wasn't even doing that anymore so she decided she was totally done.

We got her a hospice nurse, who then told us that it was time for a hospital bed. The doctors said that she had about 6 months left but she's deteriorating so quickly that we'd be surprised if she made it 2 months.

Knowing that she doesn't have much time left, I went out to visit her with my dad. I wanted to have some time alone with her, but one of my aunts & an uncle stayed in the room, talking about apples, fruit cups, cottage cheese, & God knows what else. Not exactly the way that I wanted to end things, but it seems kind of fitting that my last time with her would be overshadowed by other people.

You see, I haven't had the best relationship with my grandmother. She always favored literally all of my cousins over me, & that was painfully clear to me even as a child. It wasn't really anything I had done since, you know, I was a kid. It was more about my parents. Both of them had been previously married & my grandmother was a hardcore Southern Baptist who believed that divorce was a sin. It didn't help that my father hadn't been her favorite (she had treated him the worst out of all 6 of her kids). My mother was more independent than my grandmother liked her family members to be (the more codependent, the better), so they were never close. I was the product of my parents so I never stood a chance being thrust into that dysfunctional dynamic. It didn't help that due to other family issues my parents didn't let me stay over with my grandparents so they didn't get to spend as much time with me as my cousins (most of whom lived with my grandparents at some point because their parents are leeches).

As I've gotten older, my relationship with my grandmother has mellowed out. I came around more often & spent more time with her. I always knew who she was, what she had done, & that she could turn into a bitch on a dime, but she was still my grandmother. 

And that's where I'm at now. There are so many emotions & layers to all of this & it's hard to reconcile. On one hand she could be awful, but on the other hand she's my grandmother. On ANOTHER hand she wasn't nice to my parents, but on yet another hand she's an old lady who is suffering. 

So I'm sad to be losing my last grandmother, & I guess I'm just trying to put all of the hurt in the back of my mind. We'll see how it works out.

1 comment:

Kenneth Noisewater said...

Sorry. I hope she isn't in much pain.

And we should all have that one grandma who can turn into a raging bitch at the drop of a dime.