This week was supposed to be a nothing-particularly-special type of week, except I was supposed to have a second interview for the job that's currently at the top of my list, but then some family shit hit the fan. My grandmother who was already on hospice had a stroke and started fading, so I quickly had to decide how and when I was going to make the 4 hour trek to see her for the last time. The Hubs couldn't get time off work so I packed a bag, took the baby, and got on the train first thing Tuesday morning.
I had low expectations for how Max would handle 8 hours on a train in one day, but he was amazing. He loved staring out the window and smiling at everyone who walked past our seats. He nursed and napped and hardly fussed at all. And when we got to my grandma's bedside he was perfectly content to chat with my mom and aunt and stare at himself in the mirror while the adults talked. The ride home was exhausting but again, he did great.
Grandma Kay was unconscious the whole time I was there, which I expected. But I believe she could hear us, and that she liked having her family there with her. She seemed peaceful. I spent a few minutes alone telling her that I loved her and would miss her and never forget her. I found out the next morning that she passed away in her sleep late that night.
There are some people who understandably have a hard time being around the dying, so much so that they can't bring themselves to visit and say good-bye. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Saying good-bye is usually more for you than it is for the person who is dying. When my grandfather was on hospice I never went to see him, even though I promised I would, and then one night he just died. I guess I thought I would have more time or there would somehow be more warning before he finally went. That still eats at me. So a few years later when my grandmother, his wife, was fading I made sure to see her and I'm so glad I did. The same goes for my Grandma Kay's death. I haven't been the best granddaughter as far as keeping in contact goes. And over the past 10 or 12 years she had Alzheimer's, so she didn't really even remember me the last time I saw her (over a year ago). So for me it was really important to go see her, even though it meant a long, exhausting day of traveling with a baby by myself.
It's sort of strangely fascinating to me to be around someone in their last hours. I find myself wondering what, if anything, is going through their mind. What they're feeling or if they're absorbing the present moment or lost in their memories. Or if they're dreaming just as if they were asleep. Both of my grandmothers were very peaceful in their last hours, so I don't think they were afraid, but who can really know? Of course we all find out one day what it's like, and I can only hope it's as peaceful for me as it has been for my loved ones.
Now all of my grandparents are gone. I'm not a believer anymore, so I'm not sold on the idea that they're all together in heaven. I like the idea of reincarnation, but I also sometimes feel like I get visits from them (and my mom swears she does). At any rate, I believe whatever has happened to their souls/life force/energy is as good as it ever can be. They were all wonderful people. And my Grandma Kay was a particularly sweet and special lady, who I loved and will never forget.