My grandma died today. The world seems a lot less bright.
We all knew she was sick, advanced lung cancer and heart problems. I had called on Thursday to talk to her and heard she was in the hospital. Not to worry they said, it was just mild anemia. The problem was the chemo wasn't working, the tumor had actually grown 21% in just 3 months. Friday I am at work, all is well, and then a number with my home area code flashes on my cell phone. I knew. I chickened out and didn't answer. I checked my voice mail and it was her daughter, saying that grandma is not doing well, her kidneys are failing and she has internal bleeding. They don't think she'll make it through the weekend. I ran home and packed a bag. Packing a bag while crying and panicked is not wise. I ended up with 12 tee shirts, a single pair of jeans, one pair of socks and just flip flops.
I made the plane on time and literally got the last seat. Delayed for an hour I still made it and rushed to the hospital. I walked in and kissed her. Her son said Meghan's here and she opened her eyes and said Meghan. That's the last word I ever heard her speak. She fell back asleep and we all stood around for hours, holding her hands, telling stories and trying to laugh. Laughs turned to tears turned to just watching her sleep. I know if she had been able to she would have swatted us away, saying not to watch her sleep it made her uncomfortable. Instead she just breathed and I combed her hair. Willing her to get better and praying that she would.
Today, all day, I was deluded. I thought, they don't know her. She's so strong. They told me just last month she had at least a year. I need that year. I am not ready yet. Therefore, she can't die. She's not allowed. I went to the hospital this afternoon and her kids were surrounding her. We held her hands and listened to her chest rattle with each breath. After an hour, I knew she was close so I left. I knew that her kids needed that time alone. A few minutes after I got home I got the call she was gone. Even though I have mourned her for the past 24 hours, hell for the past 4 months since diagnosis, it hit me hard. I am angry and sad and I don't know how I am supposed to go on without my constant confident. She's the person I call first for everything, bad, good and in between. She's guided me my whole life and I feel so lost. I thought writing it out would help but it's not. I want to drink and scream and run until I just collapse. I just want her back.
She's not my 'real' grandma. She starting babysitting me when I was 3 months old and as her other, blood, granddaughter was there I grew up knowing her name as grandma. Although I love my mom beyond measure, my grandma was everything she wasn't. My mom is reserved whereas grandma never held back. She taught me how to paint, how to write and tell stories and how to be strong. She taught me to never settle and that knowledge wasn't just power it was a blessing. She taught me how to read and she taught me about death. After my dad passed I wasn't allowed to go to his funeral being deemed too young. I thought death was a business trip. I had just turned five. I remember sitting on her lap while she read me the book 'Why Did Grandpa Have to Die?' She stroked my hair and explained it. She held me while I cried, understanding finally, and sung to me. She held on to me until I fell asleep hours later, singing and stroking my hair the entire time. She helped me write a story about it and still has it, tucked inside a book, coloring paper frail with age. She was a professional astrologist and taught me about the stars. When I would tell stories and become animated she would laugh her deep rich laugh and say I was such a gemini. She taught me that in life, you just have to roll with the punches and dust yourself off.
She taught me all that and yet now, I don't know if I can. I remember thinking about a year ago, 'I don't know what I'll do if I ever lose her'. She's the only person in the entire world I have truly felt unconditional love from. And right now, I feel unanchored, unhinged, and truly alone.
I just want her back.