Thursday, February 17, 2011

Facing the Inevitable

When you’re 24 years old and all four of your grandparents are still living, you understand that the inevitable is probably not too far in the future. But it still sucks when the inevitable finally comes knocking at your door.

I apologize in advance that this entry may seem depressing, but this has been a bit of a rough week or so for me.  About a week and a half ago I found out that my grandmother’s cancer (which was discovered in her spine and her pelvis a year ago, five years after her breast cancer treatment was apparently successful) had now spread to her organs.  Her oncologist told my grandfather that she had four to six months left to live.  We already knew that she wasn’t doing well, so although it was tough to hear a timeline it wasn’t a huge shock. A few days ago, though, the hospice nurse that is now coming to their house on certain days told my grandfather that based on what the oncologist told her, her guess is that it’s going to be weeks, not months.

The last time Daniel and I had been to visit was about a month ago, and a couple of weeks later she was taken to the hospital because she had bleeding in her stomach.  We originally heard it was ulcers, but there are actually tumors that have come through the wall of her stomach.  She is still slowly bleeding, and they’re not doing any more blood transfusions. It could become a major bleed at any time.  So, Daniel, Charlie, my sister Marie, and I went to visit yesterday.  It was the first time we had seen her since her last hospital trip, and she looks worse than ever (not surprising).

My grandma has always been a very “robust” woman, to say the least—in body, temperament, and voice.  Although over the last year she had already lost a lot of weight and gotten more tired, until yesterday I had never seen her so quiet.  It was hard for her to move and breathe, she’s hooked up to oxygen, and the few times she chimed into the conversation she was hard to hear because she was so quiet.  My Grandma has never, ever, been quiet.

To say the least, I’m having a pretty hard time.  I’ve never lost anyone so close to me before—the closest was my Pappy, my Grandma’s dad, when I was 11.  I was pretty close to him, but he lived in Florida and I didn’t get to see him very often.  His wife, my Grammy, my Grandma’s mother, died just last year, two days after Charlie (her great-great-grandson) was born and two months shy of 100 years old.  I hadn’t seen her in about 10 years, though, and she wouldn’t have known who I was if I did.  Now less than a year later, her daughter is dying at just 74.  And I hate it.

I have images running through my mind constantly of Grandma, so many various memories that I have of her from my whole life, and all so sharply contrasted with the one of her yesterday, so small and quiet and weak.  I can’t reconcile it in my mind.

So, like I said, I’m having a hard time with this.  I also am finding that I find it really difficult to talk about it; Daniel is being very patient and understanding, though.  He has already lost three of his grandparents, although only one that he can remember.  I’m so glad I have him.

One bittersweet aspect of this whole thing for me is my grandfather (my Pop-pop).  He takes such good care of my Grandma.  He is really amazing, and it is heartwarming to see even though it is sad.  It makes me think about the future, about the later times of marriage for Daniel and me.  I hope that if I ever need to, I will be able to take such good, loving care of my spouse like my Pop-pop does.

Anyway, please pray for my family—I really appreciate it.  
Again, I’m sorry for the sad entry.


  1. Sarah,

    I'm sorry to hear about your Grandmother, and will keep you, her, and family in my prayers.

    As I've been through this several times myself, I know there's nothing I can do to make it better or easier. Just trust in God to make it alright.

    My mother (age 49) was recently diagnosed with breast cancer (thankfully in the early stages). Your post reminded me no matter what are problems in life, it could always be worse.

    God Bless,


  2. Oh Sarah I am so sorry. I do know some of what you are going through nmh grandma is battling leukemia and also beat breast cancer. It is hard to know they are suffering by what a beautiful example both of suffering and of love. I will pray for her, your Pop Pop and for you and your family I know it is hard though. And that's ok :). God bless!!

  3. Sarah,

    Seeing people you love like this is so difficult. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.


  4. Sarah,

    I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. We will keep you all in our prayers. It is such a shining example of love that your grandparents are showing you - what a precious gift.

    We will especially pray for Daniel so that he offers the type of comfort you need. His job can be a difficult one - you want to do everything "right".

    Keep us posted on what is going on. Your blog can be a good way to get all the bad stuff out.

    I am glad that you are continuing your blog. I would miss you.

    -Kathy F

  5. Death can be rough to face, no matter what the circumstances. It sounds like you have many beautiful memories of your grandmother. What a blessing to see your Pop-pop live out "in sickness and in health."

  6. Dear Sarah,
    I am praying for you during this difficult time. I can't imagine how hard it must be. Know that God holds you in the palm of His Hand...your Grandmother too. He has a plan throughout all pain, though I know it must be hard to see or understand. Death is incredibly hard to understand and bear...keep trusting in Jesus though.
    God bless you and your lovely family!
    Your sister in Christ