The Last Month with My Grandma

November 8, 2012
My sister, father, and I had been at the Defiance County Fair for over four days. We were already to show our perfectly, fit sheep and taste the victory of our winnings when the call came. August 22, 2011, started out as a calm summer morning until a loud annoying alarm went off on my bedside table. My dad sluggishly walked over to pick up his phone as my sister and I anxiously waited for him to hang it up. The phone snapped shut, and my dad turned toward us to deliver the grim news: “ Grandma had a stroke last night, and Mom is on her way to the hospital in Toledo to see her.” Time seemed to slow, and my heart was pounding in my chest. The tears rolled down my face like a river though the forest. It couldn’t be. I had just seen her, and she was perfectly fine. Then my stomach plummeted further; I had one of most important shows of the year in front of me, and I wanted to just leave the fair and run to grandma’s side.

I pulled myself together and showed the sheep as best as I could. Afterwards, we ran to my dad’s truck and drove and to the hospital–-a trip that seemed to last forever. As we approached Toledo, a million questions swirled through my head like a hurricane. ‘Will she be ok?’ ‘Will she remember who I am?’ ‘Will I get to say goodbye?’ I just wanted someone to just tell me all the answers—to show me the future through the magic mirror.

The hospital in Toledo was bigger than Defiance’s Regional Medical Center than I had seen before. There were so many floors, elevators, and signs that pointed out every angle of the building. When we reached the second elevator to take us to the intensive care unit room 101, my parents told us, “Grandma doesn’t look like herself; just know that.” Every floor that we went up, my stomach dropped a little more. As the doors opened, we walked down a series of winding hallways and into room 101. I was scared because I didn’t know how she would act, how she would look, or if she would even recognize me.

When we first walked in, it seemed as if nothing had happened to her. She just looked like herself. As I approached her, I realized that she couldn’t use most of the left side of her body. She sat in a high tech chair that would help her get back in and out of bed easily. My mom told her that we had arrived, and she at first was a little confused but then knew who we were. I hugged her and told her that we would be here for her. I felt a little better, knowing that she was improving, “Most patients who have had this type of stroke don’t usually make it when it first happens,” the doctor said. “She is very strong person.”

A week passed, and she improved a little but was still unable to eat. They decided to move her to a regular room in the hospital for more comfort, so we made another trip up to the confusing hospital. She now could barely lay in her bed or talk. I entered the hot, musty room, and my sister immediately started to cry, which made me start to cry. I was so scared to be near her because I knew that the end was close. She would just lay there in her bed and sleep. I told myself that this may be the last time I really get to see her, so I walked over to the side of her bed and just held her hand for what seemed like years. Every once in a while she would move her warm, calming hand a little or wake up for a little a few minutes. I felt like she was telling me that everything would be fine.

One week later the call came to our house that she had died. It was one of the worst feelings that I have felt, but I knew she was in a better place and that she wouldn’t want me to worry about her. As an only child, she really knew the importance of family. I will always remember my grandma as a kind, loving person, who always had a smile on her face, and accepted all people for who they were. She had a bright, bubbly personality that would make everyone in the room smile. She always listened to what each person had to say and offered great advice. Someone once said, “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” I will always value my memories of my dear grandma.

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