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Monday, June 30, 2003

for mema 

my grandmother passed away this weekend. her health had not been good since before the wedding, but her death came as a shock to all of us. last fall, her doctor discovered a mass in her lung and diagnosed her with lung cancer. she was supposed to have 3 to 5 years to live, which isn't a bad prognosis for a 76-year-old woman who had smoked most of her life. she was hospitalized before our wedding with fluid retention and an irregular heartbeat, but the mass had not grown any. she was out of the hospital in time to come to the wedding, although she had to go live with my parents and needed oxygen around the clock.

last week she was hospitalized again because of her heart rate. her doctor also found two compression fractures in her spine, probably resulting from a fall she had at home a few weeks ago. the pain medication that she was taking for her back pain put her intestines to sleep. her heart just couldn't keep going anymore, and it stopped shortly before 6 am yesterday. my mom, aunt, sister, and cousin were at the hospital with her. i was on my way, but i didn't make it in time.

i wish i could have seen her more this weekend, but i had to move my belongings out of my apartment. i was packing on friday and moving on saturday. i should have made the time to go see her.

i was very close to all of my grandparents, but probably closest of all to mema. i was the first grandchild, and mema kept me a lot when my parents would go out of town. i learned to ride a bike at her house. i watched the challenger explode in her living room. we celebrated many new years' eves together drinking sparkling apple cider from plastic champagne glasses. my relationship with her is so important to me that i want my children to be just as close with their grandparents.

even though her passing was sooner than expected, i am thankful that she did not suffer with cancer. and while the coming days will be filled with sadness, i can rejoice in the fact that i will see her again some day.


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