One Life Nears the End as Another Just Begins

In July, my beautiful, vibrant, independent, strong, mentally sharp Grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer that had spread to her liver.
In August, she was put on hospice care and took her off of all of her medications for diabetes and other health issues.
In September, a hospital bed was delivered to my mom’s house. The goal is to make sure she’s as comfortable as possible in her last days.
She now spends her days sleeping, unable to walk without assistance. She coughs all day, a constant reminder that her liver has enlarged and things are going downhill quickly.
The other day I went to visit her. I sat on her bed while she sang hymns and told me she’s unafraid of death. I fought back the tears as she spoke. Until she said this.
“I haven’t missed your Grandfather much since he passed away, but lately, I’ve been missing him. And when I go to sleep at night, I feel his arms wrapped tightly around me.”
Those words were too much for my heart to handle.
My Grandparents were everything to me when I was a child and continued to be a strong and meaningful presence in my life in adulthood. Three years ago I lost my Grandfather and very soon, I will lose my Grandmother. I will be left on this earth without my Grandpa, without my Grandma. I know that’s how life works, but it’s still difficult. And I hate that my Grandma is losing her life in this awful, cruel way.
Earlier this week, I had the honor of witnessing Grandma meet her Great- Grandson. She held him in her arms and spoke words of love and wisdom to him. She could only hold him for a brief moment due to her weakness and pain, but that moment will live in my heart for the rest of my life.
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I can’t wait to show this photo to my nephew when he’s old enough and tell him the story of this moment.

17 thoughts on “One Life Nears the End as Another Just Begins

  1. baltimoregal

    You’re in a lot of pain and it hurts and you will miss your grandma so very much, and I am sorry.
    I remember after my wonderful great-uncle JC, who was like my grandfather, died (somewhat suddenly for a man aged 92)- his wife of 60 years went through something quite similar to what you describe. It was like they could only be without each other for a few years, just to tie up any loose ends. I miss them both still but their love was a comfort beyond the sorrow. I know your grandparents’ love for each other will be a comfort for you as well.

  2. Alison C

    Fuck Cancer!
    I know you will miss your grandmother but I hope she slips away soon with minimum suffering. And yeah circle of life!
    Hugs to you

  3. Lyndsey

    I’m sorry. I keep trying to type comforting things but they all suck and then I erase them. So I’ll just say, I’m sorry. Cancer sucks, and so does losing people we love.

  4. Kate

    I’m so sorry you and your family and especially your Grandmother are having such a tough time. I hope that knowing she feels your Grandfather’s loving embrace helps you cope.

  5. steen

    I’m so sorry, Y. I lost my stepmom to brain cancer earlier this year and it was incredibly hard, watching the progression. Like your grandma, she was incredibly strong and did not fear her fate; she, in fact, tried to protect us while we tried to protect her.
    I am so glad you captured that moment with your nephew. That is truly something that will be cherished for a very long time!

  6. lisa

    You catch some absolutely beautiful moments with your camera. What a gift you have. This post made me cry….you are blessed to have such loving people as models in your life. Thanks for sharing them with us too.

  7. marjorie

    What a beautiful picture you took. What you are going through is so hard. It is so hard to let go of someone you love. Remember to be thankful that you have had your grandparents into your adult years, and thus you and your children will have many memories to cherish. I only knew one set of mine and they both died when I was in my teens. I pray that your grandmother remains comfortable and not in pain in her last days.

  8. hdw

    Oh, I am so sorry. My grandmother passed away two years ago from colonic lymphoma. I happened to stop by the hospital around noon that day and was with her when she passed away almost thirty minutes later. One of my favorite pictures of my grandmother is with my son when he was just two years old. He won’t remember her – and that makes me sad – but oh, how she loved us all and those are the memories you carry forward. xo

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