Sunday, July 20, 2008

Screeching Halt

Dying can stop the busiest of lives. Including mine.

Last week my mom and I had to call an ambulance to rush my Nana to the hospital. Nana turned 90 in May and has been declining for the past few years.

Around 2AM, she woke us up, yelling for her father, wandering the lower level of my parent's house and complaining of dizzyness. Over the course of the prior week, she'd flooded the lower level twice, and has been found wandering the neighborhood wearing her finest dress and heels in search of her boyfriend.

I knew things have been bad - but when I arrived here in PA a few weeks ago, I was flabbergasted.

Nana is dying.

After one week in the hospital, she's become a shell of who she once was. Today, she didn't know my mom. She asked my mom where her Jeanne was. Mom had to tell Nana that she WAS Jeanne.

IV tubes snaked from a regualtor to her badly bruised arms, and her face was flushed red. Her face seemed to collapse on itself when she lay on her back, panting in the heat of the 8th floor hospital room. (Hospitals always cater to the people who are too cold.)

All of this erupted the night before Kyle and I were to fly home to Denver. Knowing Nana would never be coming home, John and I decided I would stay for another 2.5 weeks to be with my mom during this transition.

Initially, the plan was to get Nana stabalized, then placed in a nursing home one mile from my parent's house. But after today, it looks like Nana may not ever make it out of the hospital. She's suffering so much and the only clear thought she uttered this afternoon was, "I don't think I'm coming home. My belly hurts."

A crushing sensation pressed on my chest. Tears bit at my eyes as the hard reality hit. Nothing can relieve Nana's pain but death. I didn't end up staying in PA to help Mom transition Nana to a nursing home, I came to say goodbye. Goodbye to a strong woman whose seen more than her fair share of suffering. A woman who spoiled me rotten with forbidden sweets when I was little.

I've never known life without Nana. Most of me doesn't want to.

Putting my entire life on hold is something I will never regret. Yeah, my goal of getting my novel proposals sent by the beginning of July is toast. I haven't been able to touch my "work" since I've been here. That's okay. It can wait. Doctor appointments, music rehearsals - it can all wait.

Being able to see Nana every day at the very end of her life is a gift. I hope I can hold myself together to help Mom and be there for her as she's been there for me all my life.


Megan DiMaria said...


A prisoner of hope,

WordVixen said...

I'm so sorry, Darcie. :-( We're praying for you down here.

D. Gudger said...

Thanks guys, we really need it.

Jan Parrish said...

Darcie, you're right where you need to be and I'm so glad you know that I'll be praying. These moments, while painful, will always be treasured. I pray that God will sustain you and your family through this time.