Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Smile Though Your Heart Is Breaking

I interrupt this normal confessions post by saying that my dear grandmother has suffered a massive stroke. I was sitting there in my living room watching the Emmys during the Robin Williams memorial when my mom contacted me and let me know that my grandmother had slipped and fell in her apartment causing a massive stroke and bleeding in her brain. My jaw dropped.

What? I was just speaking to her the other day. She was fine. This can't be happening. But it was. My grandmother was going to turn 91 in just a few weeks and then as the night progressed, her doctors determined that if she had surgery, she would most likely not make it due to her age and it would be impossible to control the bleeding at this point. There was no going back. She wasn't going to recover. 

I really didn't know what to do with myself. Should I go into work to keep myself busy? Should I visit in the hospital right away? Should I wait for more information? I decided to go into work and when I thought I could hold it together to update my boss on the matter he following day, NOPE the second I sat down in his office I started blubbering like an idiot. Fell apart. I left work to go to the hospital where I finally saw my grandmother there unresponsive and....oddly sounding like she was just fast asleep. I hated not being able to go into her room without a gown and gloves since she contracted MRSA in her ears.

The nurses kept on talking - and they were wonderful - but any outside noise was quickly drowned out by the millions of thoughts and memories rushing through my head. This came out of nowhere. She was 90 years old, but man was she in great shape. She even kicked cancer's ass just a couple of years back with no problem. If she hadn't slipped, none of this would have happened. She would be fine and we would still be planning her birthday party. I would still be taking her out shopping for her fall/winter wardrobe at Nordstrom like we always did. She was one stylish lady and was always put together.

But then I snapped out of it upon hearing the news of her condition from the doctors. The decision was made to take her off of life support and let her pass painlessly and naturally since if she did live for a few extra days on life support, she would be a "vegetable" as my grandmother's brother put it. It made me mad to know that we had to make these decisions for her, but I know too that she would never want to go on living in her current state. It was only a matter of time. My cousins, aunts and uncles were there sharing memories and not only that, but it was lovely to hear about how many ties and relationships she had at her church and how involved she was within the community. Nothing but good things to say about my grandmother. It was heartwarming to know that other people - not just her family - knew how special she was as they came by.

I have to say though, making funeral arrangements for someone who is still technically living is the worst. Anything related to dealing with a death of a loved one is just something I can't handle. One of the Pastors at her church stopped by and said a prayer with us. I'll always remember her as a smart, strong woman who always stood up for what she believed in and was a strong advocate for education and working hard for what you have. Always dressed to impress and respected first and foremost. She'll always have a special place in my heart. I hope to live a long and wonderful life just like she did. She's an inspiration.


How do you grieve? Do you cry and let it all out right away? Get mad? Make light of the situation? Everyone grieves in their own way and as one who hasn't gone through this experience too often, your thoughts and prayers mean the world to me. It's moments like these that remind me to love life and to live each day to its fullest...because who knows when it may be your last. 




24 comments:

  1. Oh Em, I'm so sorry you are going thru this. My Dad had a stroke at age 63, eleven years ago. He survived but it was massive and he is paralyzed on one side and has very little speech left. He understands everything but still. Nothing can ever prepare you and I particularly fucking hate stroke because it is sudden and causes soooo much damage. Since than I have always said a sudden loss is the absolute worst kind. Although technically I still have my Dad and I am ever so grateful, he is not the same person and I had to grieve for those parts of him that I lost. I cried my eyes out for months over how much I missed him. All you can do is hold on to the wonderful memories and allow yourself the time to get over the loss. Even when someone is old and lived a full life... blah, blah, blah... it doesn't make you miss them any less. Sending you a big hug:)

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  2. Oh Em, I am so sorry to hear this. My grandma passed away in January and it was hard. Your grandma seemed like she was a vibrant and lovely person, and the photo you posted captures that. Grief is a process, which I'm sure you know, so be kind and gentle with yourself. Sending love and hugs your way.

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  3. In April my grandmother was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, a month later she passed. We are never ready for such heart ache. I am so so sorry you have to feel this pain. I still feel my Nanny with me everyday. I can hear her voice as if she is right next to me. My heart is with you.

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  4. Em, I am so sad to hear that your grandmother has passed away :( All my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family right now. XO It sounds like she was an amazing lady. This makes me tear up because my grandpa died at 67 unexpectedly. It's so very tough to deal with and I still get sad when I think about that day. This also makes me anxious because my gram has gotten pretty fragile recently and has had numerous falls in the past year or two. It's important to use our time with them wisely and enjoy the moments/memories with our family & friends. Hugs!

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  5. I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother! It is so hard to lose those who are most dear to us. I lost both my grandmothers in the same year, and sadly had to see them both deteriorate. As bad as it sounds, this may be a blessing in disguise that it happened so quickly, because watching my grandmother slowly lose herself to a brain tumor was one of the hardest things I have been through. Keep your chin up though - it sounds like she is the kind of lady who would want you to stay strong and happy. Hold on to the happy memories and keep yourself busy, that's what I find works best!

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  6. I am sorry to hear of the situation. Taking a person off life support is a very very difficult decision and it makes it more difficult when you think about how active and capable she was. The picture you posted is so precious and she looks great. I would have pegged her about 2 decades younger!

    My mom passed at a young age and at first I was in shock-like she was going to come back. It wasn't until the day of the services that it really hit me. Throughout that day I "held it together" and it wasn't until a month or two later that the faucet turned on. Each of us handle things differently and however suits you best will help you through better than any story I could ever share with you.

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!!

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  7. oh honey, I am so so sorry. big hugs. I wish there was something I could say, but I know there isnt.
    I am very lucky that I have never really lost anyone very close to me - people have died but no one very close, and I honestly cannot even imagine losing my grandmother. I am on the other side of the world, and it would be very hard to get there if something like this happened. But she has had strokes and fallen many times, it is so scary. I really wish there was something I could do to make it better darl but I know there isn't. My thoughts are with you xo

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  8. So sorry Em! When I lost my grandmother we did have a few days to say goodbye and to be together as a family. I took comfort in everyone who gathered and shared funny stories. I cried it out later, and remember all the good things. Big hugs to you!

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  9. I'm so sorry for your loss. My grandmother passed away due to a heart attack a few years ago, and I couldn't believe it when it happened. I remember being numb at the funeral. I didn't cry until weeks later. Like you said, we all grieve differently. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers!

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  10. she was adorable! so sorry for our loss! For me grief is a bit of a roller coaster ride. sometimes I feel strong but then I'll see something that reminds me of them and I'll loose it. I always do best when I just give it to God and ask for His comfort!

    Lindsey
    Thrift and Shout

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  11. I am so so sorry for your loss. I lost my grandmother a few years ago unexpectedly to a brain aneurysm, it is the worst. Praying for you and your family during this difficult time. Keep your head up!

    cardigansandcardio.blogspot.com

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  12. I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I wish there were words that I could say to make you feel better, but I know there isn't. When you loose a loved one, especially expectantly, it is always incredibly hard and sad. Just cherish and live in the moment right now as everyone shares their fond memories and stories, as that is how you should remember her too! Sending you hugs!

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  13. im so sorry to hear this :( it's so hard losing a loved one. big hugs to you xoxoxoxox

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  14. I'm so sorry! Your family is in my thoughts.

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  15. My heart aches for you. I haven't lost a grand parent yet, but the thought is too much to bear. You'll be in my thoughts.

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  16. I'm so sorry to hear this. :( Losing a loved one is heartbreaking. I really wish there was something I could do to help. :/

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  17. I am so so sorry to hear this Em, absolutely heartbreaking. I have a hard time dealing with death too, Scotts mom passed last year and rough was an understatement. I lost both of my grandmosthers to cancer and watching them go through years of chemo was torture. Your grandma sounds like she was wonderful and amazing, I'm so sorry. hugsxoxo

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  18. I am so sorry Em. I have no words of wisdom or any advice because everyone is different. But I can send you warm hugs and prayers your way.

    xoxo

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  19. I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. This is terrible. My grandfather suffered a massive stoke in 1999 and somehow survived. He ended up living 12 more years, but this quality of life was terrible. Prayers and hugs for you and your family!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
    acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

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  20. I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. My grandfather had a massive stroke in 1999. What a rough time you are going through. Sending hugs and prayers to you an your family.

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
    acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

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  21. Oh sweet, Em... I am so sorry that you have to go through this - I can't imagine how you must be feeling. You and your family are in my prayers.

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  22. Oh sweetheart, I am so sorry. If you need anything, let me know. My condolences to you and your family. Let your sweet grandmother live in your memories; those will never die. <3

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  23. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother. You already seem to know that she'll always be with you... My grandmother passed away almost 15 years ago and I still feel her with me when I need her!

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