Monday, March 7, 2011
A Moment I'll Always Remember
I'm in my Grandpa's hospital room- there is standing room only. I stand shoulder to shoulder with my aunts, uncles, cousins, my mom and sister. My Grandma, sitting near the window, cuddles her great grandson close. Seated by my Grandpa's bed are several doctors. Holding a few sheets of paper, they have run through all of their questions. Now...now we must look beyond this hospital room. We must prepare. Each doctor shares, and gives advice. Several options, laid before us, would allow Grandpa to leave this horribly, uncomfortable hospital bed. None of the options give us the answers we silently plead the doctors to say. Grandpa says that he'd like to go home, but glances at Grandma and says, "Do whatever is easiest for her."
Grandma looking at the doctors says, "I'd like to see him get better before he comes home." She said it, and the idea floats around the room as tears push closer to the surface.
"Hospice care allows your husband to return home, and gives the best scenario of comfort for him right now," one of the doctors says using extremely measured words.
Grandma looks up at my aunt, who stands by Grandpa's bed holding his hand. Grandma grabs her great grandson's hands, and asks, "You mean he isn't going to get better?"
Then, I glance back just as my aunt shakes her head at Grandma. I hold my breath as I look back at Grandma. She bows her head, and I watch as silent tears drop onto her pants. Then, I begin to see and feel the reality set in. Many of my cousins fix their eyes on the ceiling tiles, my mom and her siblings look to each other through blinding tears. The doctors wait. Grandma does not speak when they ask again what she wants to do-to prepare. Shifting my weight, I watch my mom move towards Grandma. Squatting down, my mom looks up at Grandma, and pleads, "Mom...Mom, what do you think?"
Realizing the heaviness of the moment, my aunt looks back to the doctors and asks, "Can we talk about it and let you know?"
Quickly the doctors nod their heads, give their business cards, and plan to come back the next day.
Even two weeks later, I still see and hear every second of those brief minutes. I am amazed by my mom and aunt's strength. I'm also overwhelmed when my Grandma's face flashes before me. For more than 60 years, she has loved and supported my Grandpa. She has held his hand. She has stood by his side. She has laughed with him, and I'm sure cried. During their marriage, Grandpa survived two life-threatening accidents, breaking bones and losing his eyesight for several months. Grandma saw him heal. She saw him survive, time and time again. He was a fighter, and it shouldn't surprise me that she expected him to do the same this time.
Posted by Michelle at 8:14 PM