December 6, 2006

Undeniably dear to me

My grandmother is very ill and will likely not be here much longer. She has been a very important part of my life, more so than most grandparents ever are, and I love her tremendously. I went home for a few days to spend some time with her while I was still able to do so.

When I first arrived she was in the hospital. I brought her a boquet of yellow roses and swept in--determined to do my best to keep her spirits up. Instead she lifted mine.

I had flown all night and was tired and dirty and hungry.

While I sat by her bed her dinner tray arrived. She was having turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, apricot jello, and pumpkin pie. (Two desserts?)

She offered to give me her dinner since I hadn't eaten. I said, "Are you crazy? I can grab something anytime. You need all the strength and energy you can get. You need to eat as much as you can."

"Yes," she admitted, "but I haven't pooped in five days and there's not much room left in here." I laughed. I knew I was lucky that she didn't provide more detail.

We ended up sitting together and splitting her dinner. I cut up her turkey into small, bite-size pieces since she had trouble pressing hard enough with her knife and fork. I offered to butter her roll for her, and she said, "No. There's no way I can eat that. Well, maybe just half."

We talked about which nurses she liked and which ones she reported to their bosses. We observed through her hospital room window the grey winter clouds moving swiftly across the sky. She told me, for the millionth time, why she prefers to drink decaf coffee in the evenings. We watched Jeopardy, one of her favorite shows.

It was one of the dearest times of my life.

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