So... life continues to change around me. I have a beautiful 11 month old baby. I have an amazingly wonderful nearly 7 year old son. I am married to the awesome, beautiful, patient person I have always believed doesnt exist. We are working on getting our lives together. My entire life has been molded around what my grandparents would and wouldnt think was right. (with the exceptions of premarital sex and hair colors that would shock a clown, and tattoos...you get the drift...) Morally I have been raised by the most precious grandparents that I could have ever had.
I was raised by them while Mom was in nursing school, while I was abandoned by my mom and left with my dad for a while, and they took care of me while i attempted my first college year. They have been helpful to me emotionally (except for a few horrible times) and financially at times, and have been wonderful great grandparents to my children. They are amazingly loved by everyone they come in contact with. My grandmother is the typical 50's housewife that would've put today's pinup models to shame with her milky white skin and pearly white teeth, stunning legs, and ruby red lips. She raised four children who were each definitely quirky and unique in their own ways, and were at times impossible. She has seen all six of her grandchildren grow up and flourish, has spent time getting to know her two great grandchildren, and I have had an awesome 31 years getting to know her and love her. My grandfather is a college graduate, masters of education from Mercer university. He specialized in science and was principal and vice principal of several schools. He is still loved by his former staff members. They are pillars of their church community and are both the most helpful people you could ever want to meet. Grandmother is old fashioned and rather strong in her faith in God. My grandfather is good with cabinetry, cars, and so much more. They, as a couple, have been my rock for my entire life. I have been driving down to visit them in Fayetteville consistently for almost four years straight.
They took me and my sister on trips to florida, theme parks, to the mountains, the circus, and did so much for me that I could never ever recall it all unless something sparked it. I have never had a lack of activities to do, whether it was skiing, boating, skating, field trips, going to Europe twice (though only once was on their behalf), and I have never been lacking in a safe place to go when I felt compromised or scared. Until the second half of my life.
About 17 years ago, Grandmother was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had one removed. I thought she would almost certainly die then. I was destroyed while they were doing the surgery. She pulled through just fine. She has been on a constant regimen of vitamins, medicines, and various other medicines ever since. She has had ups and downs, and about four years ago, she was told that she had cancer again. It was found in her pancreas, lungs, liver, kidneys, and stomach. They gave her about six months to live and told her that her kidneys were failing slowly but surely. Soon after that, they gave her medication to thin her blood and to keep her heart at a regulated, less erratic pace, along with a chance to take a new, experimental drug that could possibly give her another year to spend with her family. Four years later, and MANY atrial fibrillations later, she was still kicking hard at easter, eating dinner, playing with the baby and loving on her grandkids. She brought me a hand-knitted potholder and gave me a beautiful picture of me with my kids that she had taken.
Last week, my mom called me and let me know that my grandmother Wilma Abernathy Lancaster, age ALMOST 78, had a heart attack. My heart dropped to my feet. She was alive, was being tested, and treated for her situation. She was at Piedmont-Fayette hospital. I immediately tried to rationalize that it was grandmother, and she was likely to pull through this and remain riddled with cancer until she died painfully, so there was no way that this was serious.
If I had known how wrong I was, I would have just fallen apart on the phone. Two days after her heart attack, she started to go gradually into kidney failure. She was barely able to stand, barely able to talk, and definitely not able to eat anything or drink more than 1000ml of liquid a day. She has started to make plans for her memorial service. She will be cremated as soon as possible after she dies.
As the days have gone on, her condition has gone in waves...up and down, better, a little worse and much worse...I went to see her alone about three days ago and she was tired. She was bloated, her skin looked like elastic, and she was so bruised that it was almost difficult to tell where the bruises ended and the scabs from the needles started. She is wearing her wedding ring, though her finger is swollen around it so badly that it makes me cringe. She is in good spirits, as she has finally come to terms with what is happening. She knows that she has to say her goodbyes now. She has seen or talked to and said her goodbyes to all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as three of her four children, the fourth of whom should be coming home from a business trip in a day or so. She had me relay a message to her neighbor and best friend saying that she loves her but that she wont be coming home again, and that she appreciated all of the coffee and laughter and dinners and vacations that they have ever shared. She is heartbroken.
My grandfather tried to have a talk with me today and I just couldn't do it. He simply told me that he cant figure out how the person that is closest to me in the entire world can be dying and that I am not even acting upset. He thinks that I am made of stone. He loves me and that he knows that I can see the pasture past the field of shit that we have to wade through to get to it, and that I am stronger than anyone he has ever met. He told me that they loved me more than I could ever possibly know, and that they were proud to have raised me from birth, and that he hopes that i knew how much she worried, prayed, loved, cared about, and talked about me. He said that when she was completely knocked out the other day and in pain, she was saying my name in her sleep. He said that he knew that when i came, she would start to give up.
It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life not to explode with tears.
She will be moved to hospice in the next few days. She has had her IV's and dietary restrictions removed. Mom asked her yesterday what she wanted if she could eat anything in the entire world, and she said she wanted a grilled cheese. Mom got her one, along with a bag of chips and a coca-cola classic. anyone who knows my grandmother knows that she loves chips and soda, but hasnt been allowed to eat them for the last 5 years or so because of her heart. She doesnt care anymore. Today, I took my babies to visit her. She was elated. It was almost obvious that she closed a door when they left. She knew she would never see them again while she was alive. It was gutwrenching. She has delegated jobs to people for her memorial service and the gathering afterwards at her house. She smiled at me as I combed her hair and put her lip gloss on her today. She asked me to let her smell her flowers from her yard, and told me that it was a shame that she never got to see the ocean one last time. She just wanted to see the sun set and see the beach again, but knew that she never would. I kissed her on the lips and the cheek and the forehead, thanked her for every single thing that I have ever had in my entire life, including my morals, and i left.
My god, I dont know what i am going to do.