What I am concentrating on now are memories of things from the past because right now the present is just too hard. I never thought I'd have to watch my grandma be reduced to tears of pain in a hospital bed and be witness to her end. I concentrate on the things from years past like running through my grandparents house with all my cousins and making up games in the back room as we played the days away. I think of an Easter when it was just Mike, Big J, my grandma and myself. It was fun, low key and out of the ordinary. I think back to my wedding day. Wearing her wedding dress which was worn by my mom before me. Dancing with her that night. I also remember sitting on the porch at her house talking about our days, our dreams, our joys. We shared stories with each other, some I don't remember now and some I'll never forget. I lived with my grandma the year after I graduated from high school and while I stressed her out to the point that I had to go my own way, it was still a special time for both of us. Those are sweet memories and just a few of what I'm choosing to get me through these last days of hers.
In the last week my grandma has been moved to a 24 hour nursing facility under hospice care. Slowly we have begun the process of cleaning out her apartment sorting through her life. I loved what my mom said to me that night after I'd been there pouring over my hero's treasures..."you've been able to run your fingers over everything that was hers and feel all that is hers." ( I LOVE you mom!) It was a tough day even though at the time I didn't think anything of it. I came home with a few boxes of memories and started to pull things out to share with my husband and son and then I realized I'd never again see her in that red checkered shirt. Thinking of her never doing things again, like birthday parties, or a game of cards or just a phone call saying hi or to tell me some new found discovery and what I thought about it just about kills me. So all those trinkets I brought home with me that day are now tucked away until I can pull them out from underneath the covers. I'm happier with the living memories in my head right now instead of the ones that I can feel in my hands.
As my grandma lays in her bed tonight in a place I never thought I'd see her at, I pray that tonight is the last night she has to live in cancers pain. I pray that the cancer that is ravaging her body is silenced for the last time. I pray that the comfort of her own thoughts of her beautiful past take her home with the Lord and ends this horrible dream. This part of the journey is the hardest and while I don't want to loose my grandma, I do want her to be free of this. It's time. It's time for her to dance forever in Heaven.