Saturday, March 21, 2009

Preparing to Sleep

My maternal grandmother is 93 and we're now facing the fact that she'll most likely be leaving us soon, probably in the next week or so. According to my father-in-law, a physician with extensive experience with the elderly and end of life situations, the process that Babci is now following is one that will be painless for her. For us, as with anyone losing a central pillar in their lives, I expect that it will be anything but.

We have time to prepare, which is a good thing I suppose. But knowing it's going to happen and actually being ready for it, accepting it when it occurs, are very different things. It's been a few years since we lost my paternal grandmother and more than 8 since my paternal grandfather passed away. I barely knew my mother's dad. He died when I was 5 and Babci (Polish for grandmother) has been a significant part of my life ever since.

She was sleeping soundly today as I sat by her bedside reading my book and talking with family members. Tiny now with slender wrists and not much strength, she still summoned enough to wake up, smile, and reach out to touch my 6-month old niece, blowing her a kiss and asking in a whisper about Amelia's older sister who was home with a fever. I wish she had a bit more strength...she always loved college basketball and watched the games of March Madness, especially her beloved UConn Huskies, with a passion. However, she wasn't up for watching games today and instead rested quietly, safe and warm under her bright white and blue Huskies fleece blanket, dreaming perhaps of my grandfather or perhaps not at all. It was a relief to see her like that, even though I know that it means that soon the dreaming will be left up to us.

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