Chemotherapy

By
The wrinkles and cracks on her once soft and smooth hands are more defined than ever. Dark, ugly blotches are now sprinkled up and down her thinning arms, revealing her only weakness. The twinkle and life in her hazel eyes has dimmed since the last time I saw her. Her once curly, full, red hair has diminished. Brittle strands remain, trying to hold on. Her broken leg is propped up on the pillow, trying to heal, even though its been close to ten months since the fall. She’s not wearing her usual makeup, that usually illuminates her face and gives the finishing touch to her glamorous style. Her dazzling outfits that she is accustomed to wearing are all slung away since the apparent weight loss. A picked-over meal sits next to her, waiting to be finished, but it will join the rest in the garbage disposal soon enough.

She lies there, watching her daily soap operas, which is one thing that has not changed over this short time. Dosing in and out, she barely realizes that I’m lying with her, watching them too. As I’m examining what seems to me, a whole different person, I can’t believe that so many changes can occur in such a short time. I look the same as I did three months ago when I was last here. Sure, I’ve lost my tan from being under the Florida sun, but that’s about all. Chemotheraphy to me meant that she would be alright. It meant that she would live until next Christmas, or even longer. It didn’t mean that she would be transformed into a weak, fragile person.
I start to lose my mental picture of how beautiful she was around Christmas. Memories of singing and shopping start to seem unreal as I look at someone who I feel like I don’t know anymore. I can barely recognize my own grandma, the one with so much life and strength. The grandma that over the past years struggled against cancer silently, never complaining. The cancer was spreading, yet she never gave in, never lost hope. Thoughts of what I would say to her when she awoke and saw me fluttered through my mind. I assumed she would start to complain; she had to of finally given in and thrown in the towel. I have never experienced her being weak, or doubtful, so I would be speechless if she was. Instead, she turns her head to me, and smiles that same loving smile she always gives to me. She simply says, “Hi darling, how have you been?” while the life in her eyes somehow sparks back up at the sight of me. And then I knew that even though she had so many changes occuring, one of them would never be her personality or her love.





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