Thursday, January 02, 2014

Great Grandma

Looking back, one of the worst parts of 2013 was the rapid decline of Great Grandma. (Who is actually my Grandmother, but my kids call her Great Gradma and my niece Morgan calls her G.G.)

A bad combination of medications gave her bleeding ulcers. The blood loss made her weak. The weakness put her in the hospital in September and didn't get out until late November, or even early December. . And she spiraled almost out of control, briefly landing in the ICU with severe pneumonia. For a few weeks she was in rehab to regain her strength. Then back into the hospital. Then rehab again. And finally, after six or eight weeks, back home. 

But she's frail on the best of days. Easily fatigued due to several heart conditions. And her short term memory is shot. 

My mother pretty much spent four or six straight days trying to watch over Great Grandma. But couldn't do it alone. An around the clock effort was too much work. And neither of Mom's siblings would contribute enough of their time to make a difference. And ultimately they decided to put Great Grandma in a local assisted living facility.

Great Grandma has always been in my life. We were pretty much raised by my grandparents. She has always been strong. Always been supportive. There for any of us when we needed her. 

Not used to seeing her so weak. Or forgetful. My stomach rolls at the thought of her alone, in some foreign facility. How often does she come out of her fog and wonder, "Where am I?" How often is she lonely? Or afraid? Not sure when, if ever, such notions will sit well in my head. But they have to be accepted. The outcome isn't optional. Or avoidable. 

In the meanwhile, I see her on the weekends. Tell her that I love her. Hold her hand. Remember all the wonderful years I had with her. 

I hope we can somehow make her remaining days as happy as she made us.

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