Grandma dearest

By , mitchell, SD
Have you ever lost someone in your family, a close friend, or even a worst enemy? Losing a loved one is never fun, even if they were one of those people that annoyed you so much that it seemed like their personal niche. Maybe the person who you lost was on the other side of the spectrum, filling the place of your most important person. Maybe you haven’t lost them yet, lucky you. Imagine if this person who means the world to you was on their death bed with some terminal illness. What would you do, would you sit by their side until the end, hoping for a miracle cure or would you leave them in hope of remembering them as they were, rather than sick and dying? I had to make this choice, a choice I believe no one should really have to make, at the age of 11.
“Gillian, can you come up stairs please?” I’m pulled out of my book, a R.L. Stine vampire book, by the sound of my dad’s voice, he doesn’t sound very happy. Instead of answering, I shake my head, and dive back into the book when it’s yanked out of my hands.
“Dad! Give it back!” I hold out my hand, but he makes no move to follow my wishes. He shakes his head sadly.
“You need to come up stairs with everyone else and spend some more time with Ana…” A lump forms in my throat. I can’t do that, I just can’t… two hot tears slide down my face.
“Dad, I can’t, I can’t see her like that, please don’t make me.” I’m blubbering at this point, crying harder. Dad tries to hug me but I dodge him. His arms fall uselessly to his sides, his face defeated.
“What do you expect me to do then? I can’t just leave you down here…”
“You could take us to mom’s…”
It was March of my fifth grade year of elementary school. Everything had been going pretty well a few months ago at Christmas, /we went about our normal activities, made pizza, opened presents, then left to come back to Mitchell. My grandma, Ana, was what we called her, stayed behind to help watch my newest cousin, Piper, who had been born about a year and a half ago. She started feeling sick and decided to go into the doctor. The next day, she was diagnosed with cancer. My aunt called us and dad handed me the phone with a morbid expression.
“Jill, this is really hard to tell you…” I could tell something was wrong by the tone of her voice, even though I was only 11, I was no dummy.
“Nikki, what is it?”
“Ana has lung cancer.”
That was the very sentence that threw the rest of my fifth grade year into turmoil. Almost every thought of mine was worrying about Ana or when we’d go see her again. We went to Rapid City almost every weekend to visit her, but I think these visits started to make it worse. By the end of January, she started forgetting things/ and her hair started to fall out. She cut it all off; her beautiful hair that stayed black without dye even though she was nearly 70. She had always seemed so strong. but I then realized that Ana wasn’t invincible.
Valentine’s Day was even worse that usual, and I was constantly worrying about her. School got really tough, and it was harder and harder to focus. Finally, we got a call from our aunt that Ana had be brought back home from the hospital and that since she didn’t respond to the chemotherapy, there was nothing else they could do for her.
We went to our mom’s house for those last few days in the beginning of March, / because it was so painful to see Ana stuck in bed and barely aware of the world.
On the 5th of March, we were going to go back over to Nikki’s, and I called dad to confirm the plan.
“How’s Ana doing dad?” There’s no answer for a minute.
“Gillian, Ana passed away last night around one a.m.” I freeze then slowly set the phone beside my mom. I walk outside, a feeling of numbness falling over me.
The next few days were a blur of arguing with my dad, many ‘I’m sorry’s, and many tears. None of them were mine though, not even while I was alone. I sat in my own little shell, barely eating, having trouble sleeping, and I was like a zombie. It confused me how everyone could be all happy after the funeral when someone so special, someone who could have lived for another 20 years if not for her smoking, had just passed away.





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