Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How do you say goodbye?

I guess I've been lucky as far as grandparents go. I've known the ones I have my whole life, my mom's parents are both alive and well and my dad's dad died long before I was even a twinkle in my dad's eye, so I don't feel any sense of loss for not knowing him. My dad's mom has been rocking this planet for the last 80,5 years, I've known her almost twice as long as I knew my dad (he died when I was 15). She's kickass, the kind of grumpy ol' duck I want to be, snow white hair, a green thumb of note and a stern countenance which some are afraid of. You just have to get a little closer to see how much of her disapproval is voiced with a mischievious twinkle in her eye. 

So it hurts to find out she's been diagnosed with cancer, of the lungs, the bones, the liver, the stomach and who knows where else. They're going to treat her with chemotherapy, but this will only prolong the inevitable. And if the treatment makes her sick she's going to laugh it off. In her words, she's going for quality of life now, not quantity. Is that brave or sensible or stupid? I don't know, and I'm flipping sad that she has to even think that way.


My dad's surviving siblings are all based in the UK, having emigrated one by one over the last 15 years, and it's tough for them to be so far away when she's so not well. They've been trying to get her to move over there for years, and this past Sunday she finally agreed to do it. The UK faction kicked into high gear, and today, two days later, they phoned to say that my aunts will arrive next week to help pack Gran's life into suitcases and she will be gone before May ends. Just like that. I don't know how long she will live for over there, I don't know if we'll be able to afford a visit, honestly, I very much doubt we will see her again. And I just don't know how I am supposed to say goodbye.

When someone dies unexpectedly you hear people say how they wished they had had just one last minute to say goodbye or I love you or I'm sorry. Yet here I am with close to a month ahead of me in which to spill my heart out and do the things I should have/would have/could have, and I almost wish it would disappear so I don't have to think about it. I would almost rather have to look back and say I wish I had one more minute. Because I don't want to keep thinking that everytime I say I love you it'll be for the last time.

My heart is broken.

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