I've tried to write this post several times over the past month, and every time I start out doing so, I delete what I've written.
In one way, it seems, well, wrong, to write about the negatives and the fact that my beloved grandmother is dying. But visiting with her these past weekends has been such an important part of my life in September and October, it also seems wrong not to mention what I've been doing with most of my free time. Adding to that decision is the fact that BeBe is and always has been one of the most important people in my life, someone who truly helped raise me and form me into the woman that I am today, and this is the first time that I have been faced with really watching someone I love suffer. When my father died, it was immediate and sudden, and I take comfort in the fact that while I didn't get to say goodbye to him, that he didn't suffer much because it happened instantly. Its an entirely different kind of grief with BeBe, since we know its coming, and because she is clearly in horrible amounts of pain.
We found out August 31 that her lung cancer was back, and that she has Stage 4 cancer, which means that the cancer has taken over and spread to other main organs in her body. Because of her age and fragility, chemo is not an option. The only real option was to take some medicine that might help stop the spread of cancer, but the side effects were such that she didn't see the point of taking them. So hospice brought her out a hospital bed, an oxygen tank, and sends a nurse to the house two times a week. We've hired a caregiver who comes in four days a week to help take care of her, and my aunt (who lives across the street) has moved in to BeBe's house since she can't be alone anymore.
When we saw her Labor Day weekend, she was great. She even came over to Mom's house and was in high spirits, and was walking around. I didn't really believe the doctor's grim 3-6 month estimates. But when Ryan and I went back three weeks later, I was stunned at how quickly her health had fallen. It was like she had given up, and that weekend really started our difficult times. Since then, my cousin Lauren has flown in from San Diego, and lots of other family members have also come to visit. I went again last weekend, when my uncle Bobby was there with his new fiance. She did great while we were all there, eating lots, and even venturing out into the living room for almost two hours. We even had a chance to take some pictures of her with her mom, Bobby, and Cheryl. She looks great here, and you'd never know how much she has been suffering. I'm glad these were some of her good days, because the bad days (like I saw two weeks before) are hard to take.