The time before that, the doctor tells us, it’s just a matter of time. But we already knew that. She was strong. For those of us who couldn’t be. She told the doctor no more surgeries, no heroic measures. Do not resuscitate. She had to convince her husband that she was ready to go.
I took the Brat to see her because she wanted to go. She loved her Gran Gran, and she wasn’t going to let the fact she was in the hospital stop her. And not to get all “Lion King” on you, but it is part of the circle of life… People live & people die. Even when you don’t want them to. I had actually been okay, up until then. But when I saw her through my baby’s eyes, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. She says, stop all that crying...and come sit on the bed next to me. You know I’m not going to live forever, nobody does. And I don’t want you crying over me. I just want you to spend some time with me while I’m here.
So we did. As much as we could. She was never in that room alone. She had her husband, her children, and her grandchildren there round the clock. And she had visitors. We spent so much time there, the hospital staff had given up on trying to get us to leave after visiting hours, and just put her in a private room, so no room-mate had to deal with all of her family & friends.
She wanted to go home. She didn’t want to be in the hospital. She came home, finally, but not for long. Her cancer left her body broken, but not her spirit. She hung on longer than they told us she would. She was stubborn as hell. She told us she couldn’t go because who was going to take care of her husband? Who was gonna cook and clean?
In the end, it was US who had to tell HER it was okay for her to go. The Boy who had been coming to see her religiously after school, sang her a song. Told her he was going to miss her, but that it was okay, he knew she would be better once she left us. The girl, who had just turned 12, said SHE would take care of Papa, she didn’t have to worry. I told her that I loved her, and that I’m so glad that my Mother in Law was a Mother I could love, as I did my own. I’d been bogarting my way into the family since I was 15 years old…and I loved her for accepting me as a daughter, even before I became one.
Nobody wanted to leave that last time. She had been brought by ambulance, and we knew this was IT. But as the room got cold, and crowded, we all spread out over the hospital. We wanted for my Father in Law to have some time to say whatever it was he wanted to say. Alone. The nurse shook me awake in the waiting room, and while I was still trying to figure out where I was, told me my MIL had passed.
She passed at 11:20PM on October 30, 2007. When we buried her, she was wearing her Live Strong bracelet which she didn’t go anywhere without, and a pink ribbon.
She gave us strength and courage to face the truth of her situation. She held our hands as we cried against the unfairness of it all, and wiped our tears. She is missed. She IS loved.