I’ve spent the past week sitting in the hospital with my Grandmother, keeping her company as she dies. The family is taking turns coming in and out, but my sister and I have spent the majority of our time by her side, sleeping in the room with her at night and holding her hand during the day. She is no longer conscious but we are insistent that she doesn’t die alone. It’s a very sad thing to do – to sit and wait and watch someone you love slip away. She is 89, closer to 90, but her will is strong, so she still holds on. But it will be soon.
I haven’t had many losses in my life and I’ve spent even less time watching and waiting. I’ve had a lot questions for the nurses about the process of dying. Is it painful? Can she hear us? How will we know when it’s time? And they all answer kindly but none of the answers take away the uneasiness. Or the sadness. I asked one nurse if it would be scary. Her reply was simple “Honey, we are all born and we all die, there is nothing scary about that.” She is right, but it is still unfair.
I’m completely and totally exhausted – physically and emotionally – to the point of tears at times. I’ve missed about a week of marathon training, although I feel confident that my training will pick back up easily when I return. After all this sitting, I am already anxious to get moving again. But back in Texas – because here in Indiana it’s 1F and everything is covered with a thick blanket of snow. Only crazy people run outside in these conditions.
Besides, my Grandmother always worried about my running. “Girls shouldn’t try and be sportsmen” she would say, because she was convinced running jiggled the brain around too much and would cause long term brain damage. There is still some family debate about whether or not brain damage has set in, but I can guarantee you – there is plenty of jiggle, unfortunately just not of the brain.