Sunday, May 6, 2012

I'm not ready

Last weekend I went to pick up my grandmother to take her to church. She's so frail now. 95 years old and unable to do the simplest things. I've tried to convince her to go to an assisted living facility, but she won't go.

I went to get her early, because I knew she wouldn't be ready. She wasn't. Half dressed she answered the door.

I looked at her. Pale. Thin. A shadow of her former self.

"Let's get you dressed, Gram," I said as I closed the door behind me. Her small apartment was too warm. It smelled like stale crackers.

I moved her toward her bedroom and she stopped me. I turned around and she wrapped her arms around me, leaned her head on my shoulder and said, "I'm not ready, Suzy,"

"I know," I said, trying to make my voice as cheery as possible, "That's why I came early."

She looked at me, puzzled.

Then I understood.

"You mean you're not read to die?" I asked.

She started to cry and nodded her head. She was shaking. It wasn't just fear that was evident in her eyes. It was terror. My grandmother is terrified to die.

What I wanted to do was to run screaming from her apartment. Run and never look back.

But I didn't. I hugged her for a long time and I said, "Well.... none of us have a choice. We all have to die. Why not think of it as going home instead?"

She nodded her head again, but what I sensed from her was defeat. What did she want me to do? Rescue her?

It's the fear that hurts the most. I'd rescue her if I could. I would.


  1. Oh what a story. How can anyone ever be truly ready. Bless her.

  2. Kelly, I just keep thinking about the fear aspect. I mean, if she was one of my children, my most important task would be to make her unafraid. But it's hard when she's the person who used to take care of ME. You know? Thank you for your comment! :)

  3. Intense, and so sad. How do we get ready to die? And, seeing those we love suffer in any way is brutal. Being there for her and holding her in your arms is the greatest blessing you can bestow. I wish you and your grandmother peace at this difficult time.

  4. Heart wrenching. You did the right thing. You held her and let her know she is loved. What else can any of us do? What more can any of us receive?

    When my father was dying and saw the look of fear in my eyes, he smiled at me and said, "This is the last great adventure." Perhaps something like that could help you beautiful grandmother; it truly helped me.

    Sending positive energy you way and hers.

  5. @deb...thank you. It's so hard to stay focused.,.. you know?

    @sharon, you always leave the most inspiring comments! Thank you for that idea! I will use it and think of you. XO

  6. You know, I think the fact that you said the word "die" will help her a lot. We're all (me too!) afraid to talk much about dying. As long as she knows she can tell you, then it's helping her.
    I hate the idea of dying and hope it's not for a very long time, and can't imagine being 95, when you know there can't be more than a few years left, with all your friends and comtemporaries gone. Ugh!
    But...I do believe that Bible thing that there's a time for everything, and when your Gram's time comes, she will be ready. (((hugs))) to you both, she's lucky to have such a lovely granddaughter.

  7. your Gram is very lucky to have you there...

  8. What you told her is so beautiful, Suzy. It's incredibly hard to feel helpless when someone who has always taken care of us is hurt or frightened, but being there and hugging and comforting them is all we can do.