Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Ten Years Ago

She had just arrived home from work on Friday night when she received the call. Her fiance was away in California on business.

Her parents had been out of town at a conference in San Diego and had cut their trip short and returned to Nova Scotia on the advice of their family doctor. Her grandmother was back in the hospital, and things weren't looking promising.

"It's hard to say how long she has." The young woman's mother spoke calmly and evenly, although there was a hint of emotion in her voice.

"It's up to you when you come," her mother offered.

She made her decision in haste although knew deep in her gut - make that within her whole entire being - that it was the right one. She would leave immediately.

A couple hours later she was on a plane headed for Halifax. She would arrive in the wee hours of Saturday morning and would be picked up at the airport by her sister.

While on the plane the young woman had time to think, to ponder her emotions and begin the process of coming to terms with the immediacy of the situation confronting her. She wondered if her grandmother had made a mistake having such invasive surgery done in December. Had it made the cancer worse? Was she weaker now, powerless to fight off this horrendous disease that had started to overcome her?

Relief set in as she relaxed back into the comfy seat in the car on the two hour drive back to her parents' house. She felt oddly comforted by her close proximity to her sister - the fact that she was sitting next to her and sensing that she, too, was surely undergoing the same roller coaster of emotions.

After only several hours sleep, she awoke. Her head felt groggy from lack of sleep and her heart felt heavy and burdened with worry. She wanted to get to the hospital as soon as she could. The family ate breakfast and then traveled together by car to the small coastal town that had been home for so many years.

Even after being sufficiently warned, the young woman was not prepared for the sight that she witnessed as she entered her grandmother's hospital room. She was experiencing sensory overload - seeing her Nan so frail and tiny, so sick-looking and ill . . . the smells of starched sheets and antiseptic and antibacterial cleaning products . . . the sounds of gurneys and wheels turning and doors closing and metal clanging and water running.

She sucked in every tear as hard as she could, and bit her tongue to the point that it almost bled so that her grandmother would not see her cry. As she held her hand, the older woman opened her eyes and very briefly registered a flicker of recognition.

"Shannon's here . . . " she slurred, her voice drifting off as if in a dream.

Those were the last words anyone would hear her speak that day. She passed away peacefully and quietly that night, surrounded by family and those who loved her, a mere 12 hours after they had arrived at the hospital that morning.


To Be Continued

7 comments:

Jenny said...

Shannon...you are such a talented writer! Really enjoyed this post.

Capital Mom said...

You have got to stop continuing things! Argh!!!
But, I am loving your writing. You have been writing some beautiful things lately!

Amber said...

And now I'm crying. And on the edge of my seat. Sniff!

(But it really is very lovely.)

Anonymous said...
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JoeGirl said...

Powerful, Shannon. Where’s my tissue?

BeachMama said...

Aww Shannon, and I didn't want to cry anymore today :(

Some kind of Wondermom said...

That was beautiful, you're such a great writer. Looking forward to more.

 
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