April 20, 2009

Skeleton Dance

April 18th would have been my grandmother's 8th anniversary of being diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She came up 3 days shy.

On Easter Sunday, I was working on dinner things when Mom appeared and said we were leaving for Tennessee the next morning. Within half an hour, she had decided we were leaving immediately. Dinner prep was abandoned and packing began. I drove my mother the whole way (she doesn't see so well at night, and freeway driving stresses her out when in unfamiliar territory). Dad couldn't get off work for the week because his foreman (the guy below him who could take over for him) was on vacation.

We spent the night in Illinois, and made it to the hospital in Lebanon, TN well before noon Monday. Two days were spent visiting Grandma as much as we could during visiting hours. She was in isolation in ICU, and we had to put on facemasks, gloves, and those gown/robe things when we went in to see her. She was obviously not great, but I thought her mental faculties were pretty good. She'd make her witty little remarks like always about the conversation, but sometimes a few moments beyond when they would have been most appropriate. This made my mom and her sister think she was confused, but I felt like she was just sort of tired. It was lag-time.

Over Monday and Tuesday, I spent a lot of time with my mother and aunt, and in the course of their conversations, some skeletons came dancing out of the family closet. I won't get into specifics, but I will say that it made a difficult time even more horrible. Learning things you didn't want to know about people who are gone is never awesome, but it makes it worse when it alters the way you think about people who are still around. It explains a lot of behaviors in that side of the family, anyway.

At 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, the hospital called. Grandma had taken a bad turn and we needed to get there asap. My mom, aunt, cousins, and I rushed to the hospital, but Grandma was already gone. She had a strong faith in God and Jesus, and believed in heaven. It was only recently, however, that she seemed ready to go there. She was revived by the EMTs before she got to the hospital, and she always wanted to be kept alive by any medical means, but this time when the doctors and everyone talked to her about CPR and ventilators and her wishes about the end, she said (in her very Grandma Jean reproachful tone of voice), "You know, I was on my way to heaven before, and I was happy, but then you brought me back."

I don't believe in heaven, but I truly hope I am wrong and that Grandma Jean is there now, happy.

And now for something that doesn't make me sad, and the probable inspiration for the post title...

Posted by Jennifer at April 20, 2009 02:47 PM | TrackBack


I am very sorry to hear of your loss. If you are still in TN give me a call.

Posted by: Pete at April 20, 2009 01:29 PM

I'm very sorry, Jen.

Posted by: nic at April 20, 2009 05:48 PM

Jen, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Posted by: Jackie at April 21, 2009 07:30 AM

Jen, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Posted by: Victor at April 22, 2009 11:09 AM