My father called last night to tell me my grandma is gravely ill and isn't expected to live much longer. Even though she is almost 87 and has been on a downhill course for a couple of years, it was a shock to hear.
She's the last of my grandparents and definitely the one I have been the closest to. Both of my grandfathers were difficult men to know and love, either by personality or addiction, and my other grandmother died when I was eight. Grandma, on the other hand, is a warm, lively, adorable person, a person who was born to be a grandma.
The extra sad part of this is, because of her growing inability to live on her own, she very recently had to move out of her home of fifty years to live with my aunt and uncle in another state. It was the right move--they have the means to take care of her and they both have been nurses, so they have medical training and experience. But had the diagnosis been found just a little sooner, they could have let her stay in the place that was home, not just to her and but to our whole family. At this point, good news would be that she could make the journey back, although that seems unlikely given her dire diagnosis.
I'm leaving tomorrow to go visit her, joining a cavalcade of relatives coming to see her one more time. She'll be surrounded by loved ones and that's all you can ask for at a time like this.
After I got the news, I poured a glass of Scotch and sat down with some photos, finding ones of her with me and my siblings. Her life hasn't been easy, but I think it has been good and filled with more happiness than not. I hope we can give her a little more happiness this weekend.