Saturday, March 21, 2009

Letting go...


Nannie with my oldest this past Halloween

We all deal with significant losses in our lifetime. Unfortunately, I fell victim to just that. This Thursday at 9:30 a.m. I lost my last grandparent, my Nannie. She had battled a multitude of complications these past few years in stride and finally she had to give up the good fight. As hard as it is right now, I'm okay. This post tonight will explain why...

Over the past month, Nannie went to the hospital several times and was admitted to the local nursing home to recuperate in hopes that her complications could at least be prolonged for a little more time. I visited whenever I could, it's difficult when you are holding two jobs, a family, and the responsibilities that adjoin both. We'd talk and share the time well, after all I was Nannie's boy and she'd light up when I walked through the door. In addition, I'd try to get my beauties in as often as I could. But this past week, she ended up back at the hospital tackling several complications which when treating two the other one would get worse. It seemed that she'd take one step forward, then two back. We remained optimistic however...

This past Tuesday, my father stopped in to give me the lowdown about her status and the information wasn't favorable. She had been transferred to the intensive care unit at another hospital to see if one more latch ditch effort could buy her kidneys more time. If the CAT scan looked promising, she'd be a candidate for a procedure that would eliminate some of the fluid...

I got the call at my after school program that the doctors were not going to do the procedure therefore cementing the fact that her time was limited. On my way home from work, I called my parents who were there to find out her status so that I could figure out my possibilities in visiting her. The update was bleak, but I decided that I had some things to say. The doctors had started a morphine drip to accommodate her pain and her responsiveness was fading...

I drove the 2 hours to the hospital picking up my mother in transit along the way only to find my grandmother heavily sedated and relatively peaceful. The nurse told me she could hear me but may not be able to communicate with me, but I took that news in stride and held her hand as I started to share my words with her. Every so often, she'd squeeze my hand to let me know she was listening...

By the grace of god during our time together, she began to fight for a greater ability to talk to me. Then her eyes opened slightly and gazed into mine, I knew this moment was critical. I kept telling her that I loved her, that my girls loved her, and how important she was to me. Her responses were so labored, muffled phrases but so clear to me. She kept telling me that she loved me, her eyes fighting to say open to see her boy. Then the pain increased and the nurse had to administer more medication to ease her suffering. I knew that when the drugs took effect, my window would be over...

It was about 9:30 at this point and I told her that I needed to go. I did tell her I'd get up tomorrow to see her, but the response that she gave me was "I can't do it" and with that I told her that it was okay for her to go...

I told her I loved her, she said the same and mustered the energy to raise her arms asking for a hug. I held her tight, kissed her, and for the last time in her life I told her that I loved her. She became more peaceful as the medication took action and I left the room knowing that this would be the last time I would hold my Nannie...

She passed the next morning while I was at school...

So often in life we consider the worst case scenario for our choices, but too often we neglect to do what is just plain right regardless of the consequences. I am so thankful that I didn't stay home that night and that I got there for that last visit. It was like she needed me to be there before she went to be with God. I'm okay now for my decision because she knew that her grandson was able to say goodbye and that I would see her again. But until then, I still have a lot of good work to accomplish and while I'm tearing up awful as I type this, she knows that the world is going to be better for my efforts...

Nannie, I love you and I will see you down the road. I miss you...

5 comments:

tugboatdude said...

That's very touching and I am truly sorry for your loss.Unfortunately I have never known the closeness of family.I thinks that is why my brothers and I are so close,it's what I think family is all about.Take care and I hope the pain from your loss passes

Live to Hunt.... said...

DEDH, I am sorry for your loss. What a nice tribute to your grandmother. Take good care.

Jodi said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss.

NorCal Cazadora said...

My condolences to you and your family. But I am so glad you got that time with her. If I were in her shoes, I'd be so grateful for that - I'm sure it meant the world to her.

Terry Scoville said...

Tony, so sorry for your loss and I am glad you chose to spend the time that you did with her. A very nice tribute. You two shared a lot it is clear and she will continue to be a part of your life. Livestrong my friend.