Posted by: fireweaver | November 9, 2007


i’m all packed up and ready to roll out of here several hours earlier than originally planned. flights got changed around today, because i need to go home before i can go home.

mom called me just after i got through airport security and settled into the terminal last sunday, to tell me that grandma was very sick, and entering hospice care. my grandmother has been through a lot lately, in and out of the hospital several times in recent months, so it wasn’t totally unexpected. this time, though, mom was convinced was the last one. i’ve been getting updates from her every night, and it’s been a slow steady progression. my mother is, of course, the responsible one there, holding everyone together, processing the doctor’s orders, demanding better ones if she didn’t like the first set. after holding it all together for everyone for days, she told me about grandma’s worsening outlook wednesday afternoon, sobbing, “Shelly, it’s my mama.”

i’ve been doing pretty well at holding it together myself, calmly letting the primate center crew that i might have to leave unexpectedly mid-week, letting the work homestead know of potential delays returning. i called SW yesterday to switch my flight to houston instead of BWI, and said the same thing i’ve said 50 times this week, “my grandmother is dying.” this time, though, maybe because it’s real and not some hypothetical could-be, i broke down crying to the poor girl on the phone.  the front desk staff at the hotel were likewise subjected to another unexpected meltdown when i was asking airport directions (and i got to feel like more of an ass for making one of *those* poor girls cry with me).

later on, i called mom to let her know when i’d be arriving this evening, and she said, “grandma’s awake right now, please talk to her.”  i don’t remember all the details of that conversation, just that she knows the end is close and that she’s ready to die.  “i love you very much,” i tried to choke out, “and i hope things are better for you tomorrow.”  she told me she loves me too, and that she was glad i’d grown into such a wonderful woman (woman, she called me a woman and not a girl, she’s never said that to me before and i’m 30  years old and even now it’s breaking my heart all over again) and told me to take care of my mother, too.

i’ll see more of my family than i’ve seen in years in just a couple of time zones. hopefully, we can all manage to take care of our respective mamas.



  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother’s failing health. These times are so hard.

    What your grandmother said to you was so touching.

  2. I’m very sorry to hear about your grandmother. I was just in Houston last weekend since Grandma had her surgery (again). This time she didn’t almost die, but after what happened in April, I do understand how you are feeling.

    Give me a call if you need anything, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on – anything, really.

  3. Oh, Chelle. *hugs* I’m so so sorry to hear about your grandmother. At least you have time to get there to be with her. Your family will be in my thoughts today.

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