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Some decisions are harder than others. The same decision can be ranked as easy by one person and difficult by another. And some decisions can be impossible to make. And even worse: making the wrong the decision instead of the right one. Becca seemed to come to this conclusion, anyhow.
It had come up out of no where. Last week she’d just visited her grandmother, looking dapper in her pink jogging suit, her nails painted, cheeks rosy because of the blush streaked neatly across her cheek bones. And then, with out any warning at all, Becca’s mother had gotten a call from her mother’s assisted living home. Becca’s grandmother had gotten test results back from the doctor. Something about her blood not being right, Becca had heard at that time. She felt a twinge of worry. Could this be it? Could this silent assailant against her grandmother’s blood bring the event of her grandmother’s death? Becca felt her heart race and blood turn cold at the thought. She took a deep breath. Silly to worry about that. Her grandmother was always fine in the end. And then Becca heard another word that made her stomach sink, her eyes fill: “Leukemia.”
Becca’s grandmother was eighty-eight and unable to walk, let alone go through rigorous chemotherapy. The cancer would just suck the life out of her while all they could do was sit, wait, and pray and wait for the end.
“Grandma’s at the hospital,” Mom announced that evening at the dinner table. Her voice was too controlled, overly cheerful. It only confirmed what Becca seemed to find inevitable. “I’m visiting her tonight and I’ll be back around sometime tomorrow.” She met Becca’s eyes. They would talk later, out of hearing range from Becca’s younger siblings who didn’t know exactly what was going on.
“She’s in hospice,” Mom whispered, still keeping a calm tone. “I’m going to stay the night and keep her company.” She paused, refusing to say under what circumstances she’d be returning home. “Do you want to come, to say good bye?”
Becca’s mind froze. How could she go, keep control? Talk cheerfully and normally as though she weren’t wondering when it would happen or how to control her tears. And what if, what if, the unthinkable happened?: Witnessing her grandmother’s passing. The point where there would no longer be a steady flow of breathing, no eyes flickering open after a night’s rest from a woman Becca loved dearly. Could she handle that?
“I’ll let you think about it,” said Becca’s mother and she left Becca to her thoughts.
Mom pulled out of the driveway, though Becca was not with her. She couldn’t do it. Couldn’t witness what was about to happen, pull up a smiling face when all she wanted to do was lie in bed and cry.
“Is there anything you want me to tell her?” her mother had asked.
Trying to swallow, though it seemed her choked throat would not cooperate, Becca got out, “Just tell her I said hi and say I love her. And give her a hug and kiss from me.”
Mom had wrapped her in a hug and sounded like she was trying to hold back tears as well. “I will.”
And as she watched her mom speed down the street, Becca had to wonder to herself for a millionth time, answer the unanswerable question that rankled through her mind, kept her from sleep: Did I do the right thing?