Today was the day I was supposed to say these words to my Grandmother. I was going to drive up north to tell her that she wasn’t ever going to be able to go back to the home she had raised her children in, that she had so devoted her life to; that she would never get better from the cancer and old age that is eating at her day by day. She had believed that hospice would eventually make her all better and she’d be able to go home and work in her garden this summer. She believed that someone was fixing her house while she was staying at my nieces getting well and she’d be able to go home again soon. Everything, in her mind, would return to the way it was pre-diagnosis/pre-surgery. The hardest part was that we all wanted her to hold on to this dream so that she would try to stay with us, but then the dream started to crumble.
“I don’t know what’s going on.”
“Grandma, you have cancer.”
In the end I wasn’t able to make it to give her the words and they came from my niece who is caring for her. When I’d gotten the message that she told her I felt the world collapse around me. I knew what it meant, I knew the pain that came with that proclamation and I hurt for her and my grandmother. Things happen the way they are meant to in my life and when it came to it, she was meant to deliver the message so that our grandmother would not lie to her anymore. She needed help and she needed to allow it.
A few days before mother’s day my grandma lost the person who was staying with her full time and there was no one else who could stay in her home. There were plans being made to send her to a nursing facility, the one place no one under the sun wanted her to go to; and the only place she could go. As if by a miracle, my niece stepped up as her angel and made a place for her in her home. Although grandma never would leave her house for anyone, she agreed and left on the evening of mother’s day.
“I also am going to help with planning things for your funeral.”
“Would you really help me?”
“Yes grandma, that’s why you’re here.”
We hoped being so close to family every day would boost her quality of life, but her dream was making her homesick. The dream she created of becoming better was making her lie about her condition and she got really sick, too sick for dreams. So today came and today went.
I don’t know what it’s going to be like for her waking up in reality tomorrow. I want to be there and hold her hand and tell her everything is going to be okay, it’s okay to face the truth in life and love what is now, but the truth is, things feel like they won’t ever be okay without her; sometimes the truth is more painful than the cancer; sometimes loving what could be is easier than loving everything you will lose.
The truth is, when she had to accept the truth – so did we.