My Grandma is dying. She was diagnosed less then two months ago with lung cancer that has spread like wild fire into her spine and throughout her body. Chemo was a no go, because the cancer was too far gone, and Radiation has only been recommended to help shrink some of the larger tumours that are causing her so much pain she can’t even sit or stand, but not as a cure. She has deteriorated so quickly that as of this past Monday, she was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance while she had a heart attack, and is now being placed on palliative care.
In the simplest terms, she is waiting to die.
Death brings out the worst in everyone, and my mom has been trying her best to help, but things came to a head yesterday after she returned home from what could be her last time seeing her own mother. She spent the last week in BC, taking my grandma to and from the hospital and lawyers offices and cooking, and cleaning for her, all while watching the woman who raised her wilt away to nothing.
My grandma can’t do anything for more than 5-10 minutes before having to have a nap because she is drained from exerting any energy. So, my sisters, N & R and I figured we should plan a trip, sooner rather then later to go visit her one last time.
R asked me to look into flight costs and find the best price ( since I’ve done the most travel and have the best experience with booking flights). BUT of course in true R fashion, she’s only available like 2 out of the next 16 days and she wants to go there and back on the same day, because her life is too busy to invest anymore time than that on her dying matriarch. ALSO since she’s so cheap, she expects me to find return flights for under $200. Ummmm yeeeeah. Not happening. So then she brings up the fact that she saw some deal for flights to “somewhere in BC for $49 so it should be fine!” Haha ok R. The flights you saw go to a city 4 hours from where we need to be?!? So she recommends that we fly there and rent a car and drive the rest of the way.
Are you joking? You wanna fly inbound, in the morning, drive 4 hours, visit for 10 minutes, drive back 4 hours, catch another flight and be home in time to put your kids to bed the same night? Like it would just be WAY simpler to just fly straight to the city we need to be in, even if it means spending a little more money, the PITA factor will more than makeup for it! But in the end I found a flight for $269 and she seemed to think that was acceptable 😒. Either way, I’m good since my boss overheard the tail end of one of my calls with R and so I explained about my grandma and how I might need a day off next week and he was totally cool with that… SOOO cool in fact, that about 20 minutes later, he came by my desk and told me to let him know before I book my tickets because there might be some “arrangements” he can make. The co-owner of my company lives in the same place I have to go, and he said we can possibly write it off as a work trip saying I have to “meet” with the owner while I’m there for my 3 month review. So basically he’s willing to pay for my flight as a business expense, yeah me!
But as it turns out, after all this arranging back and forth, looking for flights, rental cars, getting free trips from my boss, calls between sisters… turns out my grandma no longer wants to have any visitors.
She has asked that no body else comes to see her, since it’s becoming to overwhelming for her, and she’d rather people remember her as she was instead of how she is now, which I gather from my mom is pretty rough. Ok, I totally get it. I don’t like people around when I’m sick, didn’t want people around when I gave birth. I don’t like indulging people to make them feel comfortable, I can only imagine how I would feel at that time in my life when I know I basically have nothing left time wise. Maybe I’d want to be surrounded by loved ones… but only if they were silent. I remember I screamed at the doctors to shut up when I gave birth, and then apologized profusely after lol. But sometimes just knowing people are there helps. You don’t need the nervous chitchat. You need peace, and you need people who can bring that peace into your life. And if they can be there with you at the end, then I would welcome them. If they want to try and settle they’re nerves and they’re uncomfortableness with death, then I don’t want them around me while I’m trying to die. Because I’m fine with death and dying. It’s part of life. Or more specifically it’s the end of life, but it’s something EVERYONE on this planet has in common. No matter how you lived, you will die. And I’m fine with that. I have no fear in death. When it’s done, it’s done. And when my grandma dies, I will obviously not be happy, but I will move on with my life, until I die. No I’m not heartless, I’m just ridiculously practical and probably to logical for my own good.
My mom on the other hand, like most people, is not handling it well. When I called her yesterday to see how her trip went and how she was doing, it was definitely bad timing. When she answered the call I could hear some yelling in the background, and my mom walking into her room.
Apparently (and bare with me on this) my brother in law D had recently been at my parents house, because they had offered him a cash job for the next day and he had to pick up some supplies for it. When he showed up he reeked of smoke, which totally set off my mom. Reminder, my mom just got home the night before from a trip where she was caring for her ailing mom who is dying from lung cancer, after smoking for 50+ years. Needless to say, my mom was overly emotional about it, and basically called D out on every single thing that bothers my mom about him since day 1, mainly the fact that he smokes, and that he doesn’t work often, instead depending on E.I. (Welfare), and letting N work full time to support them both. As you can imagine, this did not go over well. And at the time of my call, my dad was on the phone attempting to call D to tell him to “get a real job” and my moms phone was ringing with N calling to yell at my mom for getting involved in her marriage. So I sat as a an observer to this whole exchange on FaceTime as phones were passed around and names were called and it did not end pleasantly.
I had to spend the next hour on the phone with my mom trying to talk to her about it all, explaining where she “might, possibly, slightly” have been wrong. Or actually she was right in her observations about D, but had not handled the situation correctly due to her emotional state. And then on the phone with my dad, trying to calm things down between him and my mom, as well as explain that maybe him and mom should back out of N and D’s business. If N and D are fine with things the way they are, then they are two grown ass adults who should be left to live how they choose. Then what do you know… N calls later to vent about mom, not knowing I was on FaceTime and heard most of the exchange, but just wanting to talk to her big sister. So another hour of my day was spent explaining that ” maybe” it was insensitive of D to show up smelling how he did, but “yes” mom took it to far, although please remember what’s going on in her life, you know with her mom dying and all. N said mom texted to apologize, but N doesn’t feel it’s sincere enough…
Needless to say, D is no longer doing the job for my parents today, and I feel like I should be a paid counsellor. Like I said, death brings out the worst in people.
-Our Lady Peace/4AM-