So I haven’t posted in a while, but I felt like this was finally a break that I could make it happen. It’s such a relief to not have to be up and ready and doing things for school. Studying for tests, eating terribly, stressing myself out: that all gets put on hold this week (except I’m constantly thinking about what I need to get done before Monday, including a group presentation *UGH*).
But since I’m at this sort of midway point of the semester, I think it would be a great time to reflect. This semester is BY FAR better than last semester, even with shitty Monday’s. It’s more fun! I feel like what I’m learning is actually sticking. It’s flying by without all the stress I was under last semester. It’s NICE.
I still hate law and management 2, but I’m so determined to pass those classes so I don’t have to retake them (EW!). And we were teased with the idea that the PROGRAM is almost halfway over, which is a GREAT feeling. I feel like I’m managing okay still, but again, we’re not even at mid-terms/finals stress situations! I could be singing a different tune in a couple weeks/months.
I have to admit something too, I think I want to focus on embalming. It’s so fascinating and I’m getting better, faster than I thought I would. From the start of this program, I kept thinking I was going to be a funeral director and I was going to work services, and that was it. I thought about doing the embalming apprenticeship and getting the license as a backup, but now that I’ve done it, I think that’s where I want my focus to be. Maybe I’ll do both, I don’t know, but I didn’t realize how much I’d be into it.
Since I’m taking this time to reflect, I’d also like to jot down this: 1 year ago, my grandma came home from the hospital to die. I have the “timehop” app that shows statues from the last couple years, and yesterday’s was the reminder of the 36 hours I spent awake, checking on her, worrying about her, taking her to the hospital and trying to figure out why I couldn’t wake her up. I was remembering that night like it happened last night. She was wailing all night, yelling in her sleep and calling for my aunt (who’s a nurse). I would come down and say,”grandma, what do you need?!” and she’d look at me like,”What?! Why are you waking me up?” and then go right back to doing it. I never fell asleep that night. I ended up writing to my mom almost every hour on Facebook about what was going on. I waited till 7am before I really tried to wake her up, because that was when she was supposed to take her medicine. I couldn’t get her to wake up, she would startle and roll her eyes and fall right back asleep. Her breath was gargly and shallow. As soon as my mom woke up and saw all the messages, she immediately called me and told me she was coming over and to call 911…
The paramedics were so nice. I remember trying to answer their questions and I remember him saying,”you’re taking great care of your grandma” and I burst into tears. I was worried I was going to be seen as negligent or something. She was in my care and now she’s not waking up. We got to the hospital and sat around for hours. The doctors asked a lot of questions, and I remember the ER nurse and doctor that came around were very judgmental and raised eyebrows at the medication we were giving her (by doctor’s orders).
I tried to stay optimistic, we joked and thought,”oh, she’s fine. She’ll be out in no time”, but then the next morning when my mom and I went to the hospital, we were told the doctor wanted to talk to us. She brought us out of the room and that’s when she told us,”this is it. There is nothing else we can do”. My heart sank. I was so confused. She told us that the cancer had spread. The fluid build up in her lungs were part of the cancer. It was in her bones, lungs, liver, everywhere. The pain was too much, and nothing was going to make it better.
We talked to a social worker who set us up with at home hospice. We took her home that day. We watched a Kings game when she got home and I remember her asking (in confusion) about going back to the doctor’s or the hospital, and I held her hand and told her,”no grandma, you never have to go back there ever again”, and I saw the relief on her face. She understood what that meant. Over the next 2 days, she slowly left us. On March 26th, 2015 at 11pm, I held her hand and watched her take her last breath.
I have grown so much in this last year. I will continue to grief my loss, but I’ve also grown stronger and I’m more grateful for the time I got to spend with her in the final years of her life. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.