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The Love Bug

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The end of an era, and a very tiring day. [Aug. 11th, 2001|11:20 pm]
The Love Bug
[Current Mood |numbnumb]

I have been going through a fair number of emotions today... some of which I have never experienced before.

What I am about to share is pretty detailed, and may be disturbing to some people.
Please only read the rest of this if you want to.

I actually saw my grandmother die today. It was quite a unique experience... one that I certainly never want to repeat.

God has certainly had a very large part in what happened today... particularly making sure that people were in the right place at the right time, and helping us all get through this is a very positive way.

moosical and I got to the hospital this afternoon shortly after 13:00. The first thing that we both noticed is that Grandma seemed so much more peaceful and comfortable than she had been on Friday night. Her heart rate was really steady... ranging between 75 and 90, and peaking at 102 at one point whilst we were there.

The nursing staff had to turn her a couple of times whilst we were there, to make sure that she didn't get sore or uncomfortable. During one of the "turns" we decided to go to the Wexham Park cafe to get a drink. We spoke at some depth about many things. When we returned to Grandma's room, we noticed that the heart monitor had been disconnected, but didn't really think anything of it. We later realised that there was little point having it connected as we were really only waiting for one thing.

Anyway, it came to about 17:30, Mum and Avis were trying to decide whether to stay for longer, or go home. Mum was obviously worried about Kay, and needed to spend some time with her. moosical and I offered to stay for a while longer. They accepted the offer and left just before 18:00. moosical suggested that she go and get some cans from the drinks machine in the main hospital, so she went to get them. I stayed, and just watched Grandma. I started to notice that her breathing was much more relaxed - and slower - than it had been all day, so I started getting concerned. Then, she stopped breathing. I called the nurse immediately, who came in, looked at Grandma, looked at me and said, "I think you'd better call your mum back." I ran outside and called Avis (knowing that Mum was driving) and simply said "Avis, please come back." I went back to Grandma and the nurse explained to me what had happened, because at this point, I did not know. Basically, Grandma had entered a stage of breathing (I cannot remember the medical name for it) where basically her body was preparing to shut down. She *was* still breathing, but it was very shallow, and every so often she would take a large breath. But the nurse explained to me that this meant that the time was very close.

  • I thank God that I was the only one there when she stopped breathing. I'm not sure that Mum, Avis or Caroline would have been able to cope with seeing that if they had been there. I remember thinking at the time that God's timing was impeccable.

Caroline came back shortly after the nurse had explained things. She started to hand me my can of Diet Coke, then stopped. I think the look on my face explained a lot more than she perhaps was expecting. I explained to her what the nurse had told me. We both sat down and watched Grandma in silence, hoping that Mum and Avis would make it back in time.

  • Mum told me later on, that when I had phoned Avis, and they were turning back, that she said, "Please let this be it."
    The waiting was the hardest part of the last few days, I think that this has really been a relief for everyone.

Mum and Avis arrived back about 2 minutes later (literally only about 6 or 7 minutes since they left!) and the nurse explained things to Avis whilst I spoke to Mum. Then, it was only a matter of waiting. Grandma died at 18:20, very peacefully and without distress. Mum, Avis and Caroline were very strong and we all spent the next 5 or so minutes comforting each other. Yes, there were tears - both seen and unseen. Avis went out to break the news to Paul (who then told Kay) and Sue (my older sister). Kay, we were later told, didn't react to the news at all... almost acting as if she didn't want to listen to it. Sue was incredibly upset.

  • It is my belief that everyone is put on this earth for specific purposes. I think that during this whole time that I have discovered one of mine. I have been able to stay very strong (in my own opinion) throughout the whole of this, and yes it has been very draining for me. I have not yet cried. Yes, I shed tears, but I think that was more in response to my family crying than anything else. Caroline has been asking me regularly for the last few days if I am all right. I have tried not to answer her, because I was afraid that I would break down. I have abandoned my own feelings in order to support others. It's just the way I am... I can't help it.

On the way home from the hospital, I drove quite slowly... I mean to the speed limits. Caroline will tell you that I don't usually have much respect for speed limits, but I do not drive dangerously. I don't know... for some reason I didn't feel the need to rush anywhere. My voice has been very low this evening, and I seem to have taken much more care in some of the things that I have done.

  • I know that most of what I have said here seems to congratulate myself on how wonderful I have been today, but that is not what this is about. This is about how certain events change the way that people think. I have never seen anyone die before. Please don't misunderstand what this post means.

When we got back to Mum's house, Mum was speaking to Kay. This time Kay had realised what had happened, and had broken down in tears. That was very difficult to witness. Kay is almost 13 years old, and she knows a lot about life - Mum teaches her children well <s> - but nothing could have prepared her for the death of her last remaining grandparent. She spent most of the rest of the evening in the den watching TV. I went up and spoke to her later on and she told me that she didn't want to think about it. I totally respected that. I mean, who does want to think about the passing of a close relative? I explained to her that this is something that is going to be on our minds for a very long time yet, and particularly this coming fortnight. Fortunately (I believe), Kay is on a Guide camp from tomorrow morning, so she can have the time away from home to think about things, whilst we sort out the more practical arrangements here. Bless her, she's a wonderful kid.

Mum, Paul and Avis, have been in contact with close friends and family this evening, breaking the sad news. Not an easy job, but it had to be done.

Caroline and I got back here about an hour ago, and I've been typing this since we arrived. I need some sleep to sort my head out, then I can think a bit more clearly tomorrow.

For anyone who has read this far, I thank you for taking the time to try and understand the events of the last few days.

I will miss Grandma... there's no doubting that. I never took the time to visit my Nan before she died, but I was one of the last two people to see my Nan's husband (my stepgrandfather on my dad's side) the night before he died. I have always regretted not being there for my Nan. As weird as this may sound to some people, I actually felt very privileged and honoured to have been present at my Grandmothers final breath.

Whilst I do mourn her death, I also celebrate her life.
She is now cradled in the arms of God... and I know that she is now in peace.

What is Dying?
By Bishop Brent

A ship sails and I stand watching
till she fades on the horizon,
and someone at my side says,
"She is gone."
Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all.
She is just as large as when I saw her...
The diminished size and total loss of sight
is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
"She is gone,"
there are others who are watching her coming,
and other voices take up a glad shout,
"Here she comes!"
... and that is dying.

Agnes Kirby
1925 - 2001

[User Picture]From: stephaniewalker
2001-08-11 03:28 pm (UTC)
There's nothing that any of us can really say to that. It was so well put, and kind of you to let us into your head like that.

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[User Picture]From: thelovebug
2001-08-12 10:22 am (UTC)
*hugs hon*

Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: novemberbug
2001-08-11 03:31 pm (UTC)
You're feeling exactly everything I felt with my own Granny last November, and still feel now. I was also the one who was sitting with her alone as she began to slip away. I had to call everyone into the room. You're relieved that you could be strong for everyone, and you will cry when you're ready. You can only go with what you feel at this time, so don't feel bad about not crying properly yet. It will come. You mentioned that God was involved in having people in the right place at the right time - I'm not a massively religious person, but I feel that this is absolutely right. I felt that Granny waited for her friend Doris to come to see her for the last time before she slipped away, and she knew Doris was there because she spoke her last word in response to her.

And that poem is such a comfort. It raises a tear in me even now.

I'm thinking of you.
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[User Picture]From: thelovebug
2001-08-12 10:29 am (UTC)
Thanks for your words Leonie.

I've had a faith in God on and off for many years, and I know He will look after me.

That poem was on the back of placecards that my Dad printed for his mothers funeral. Always brings a tear to my eye whenever I read it.

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[User Picture]From: novemberbug
2001-08-12 11:55 am (UTC)


*returns hug*

I'm sure someone passed us that poem at the time, as well as a couple of others. The thought that Granny has gone to be with the rest of her loved ones means a lot to me. And I'm always sure that she is with God too, because she was a very kind, very giving person. God looks after all of us, which is definitely a comfort at a time like this.
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[User Picture]From: thelovebug
2001-08-12 01:44 pm (UTC)

It sounds as though we had the same grandmother.

<gentle smile>
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[User Picture]From: stilgar
2001-08-12 07:52 am (UTC)
What can I say?? Dave I'm sorry.. Yes really sorry..I didn't know..I've been so wrapped up in my own selfish world this last few days, that I've ignored my friends.People that have always been there for me when I needed them.You were always very near the top of that list, and now I wasn't there for you.Can I say just this one thing though? For god sake man CRY!! break down and sob your heart out. It don't matter where you do it..Just do it..Grief is a terrible thing and if not given a chance to be released can grow like a canker in the heart..You are too nice and fine a guy to suffer like that..Please tell Caroline, that when I made that wisecrack today, I didn't know..
Remember Dave, we go back a fair way and that if there is anything you need you only have to ask.I will be thinking of you now, and I'll be praying for you to..
May the gods bless you and yours and take care of you
Blessed Be
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[User Picture]From: moosical
2001-08-12 10:18 am (UTC)


Pete.. again don't worry about it.. I didn't take that wise crack to heart

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[User Picture]From: thelovebug
2001-08-12 10:21 am (UTC)
Pete, my friend.

Please don't worry about it. I know you've had a pretty hard time of it recently, and there is nothing wrong with being selfish about it. It's perfectly human.

with regard to crying, the closest I have gotten to it is when I was writing this post last night. I haven't really felt the need to cry.

Pete, we do go back a fair way... this much is true. That's the reason why I am not offended or upset by anything that you have done, or not done. I truely appreciate your support, and that of everyone else who has been there for me.

God bless you.
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[User Picture]From: brainlag
2001-08-12 08:19 am (UTC)

I only wish I could have been there to see my gran in her last hour.

I found what you said about Kay not reacting to be shockingly similar to my brother Simon when my gran died. He didn't react at all, even at her funeral he had a pair of dry eyes when the rest of the family couldn't see straight for the tears. Strange.
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[User Picture]From: thelovebug
2001-08-12 10:31 am (UTC)
<nods> I know what you mean.
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