A death is never easy. Especially when it's someone you saw throughout the year. But, I've had months to prepare for this death. I guess, years even, in a way. A couple of years ago my grandaunt was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She had it removed and underwent therapy and stuff but from what I understand, they were never able to fully remove it because of how it had grown in her brain. She deteriorated. She went blind pretty quickly, first in one eye and then completely. I think that may have been the hardest thing for me because yes she looked tired and weak but she hid that with a smile. It's harder to hide your blindness I guess, especially when it's new to you. She'd ask who was there and would stare into space smiling. She needed to be led around everywhere. Things like that. This was all about the time that her granddaughter was born and I often wondered how that was- waiting so long for a granddaughter and then having such few glimpses of her, you know?
At the beginning of this year she went back to the hospital. The tumor had been back it had been bigger and really she was a mess. I don't know if it's because I'm pregnant and people don't want to "stress me out" or "worry me" but everyone's made it a point to keep me out of the loop as to what was happening but I got the major updates like the tumor was causing swelling and there were fluid issues. And then there were kidney problems. She's been in the hospital since then. And at some point, she fell into a coma. Several things had been tried. Several things failed. We had a few moments these past few months where we held our breaths. And then this week they decided to take her off the medications that had been keeping her hovering- stuff to keep her blood pressure up and more stuff to keep her salt levels up. I don't know if it's true or not but there were whisperings that a CAT scan had revealed most of her brain was dead. She never came out of the coma. My cousin was just devastated and really I'm not sure he's slept in months.
So on Saturday, the ties fell away whatever they were. Maybe she was holding on, maybe we were holding on to her. I was and am incredibly relieved for her. Today was the wake. Her son had the casket closed which is incredibly untraditional but it was supposedly because they had done a number of surgeries on her and well, it was her brain so he didn't want people to see her in bad shape. Really? I am so relieved. Tomorrow morning they bury her.
Funerals are weird. Twenty years ago, a grand uncle of mine disappeared. His family and my family had a horrible fight. It was a mess. I don't remember any of it and of course would not have known anything anyways. He showed up today at the funeral. He was my grand aunt's brother. My grandfather's brother. They were a band of six. It was so weird but I discovered some incredibly crazy stories regarding my family. I think though that it was the most moving tribute anyone could pay her memory.
As for my grandaunt, it's probably a good thing we weren't closer than we were. I'd be devastated. She was one of those women who just didn't bother with judgement. When a lot of my family was upset with me for moving to California, she never SAID anything to me negative or positive but always wanted to know how i liked it and what i'd seen and she came out there once when her son was there as well. She always loved California. When I came back, she never said anything other than what I thought of California and wasn't it wonderful? She was quite the exception at that time amongst my family and for that I was always grateful. I just can't remember ever feeling awkward around her. And that's hard to do among generation gaps. There's always a moment of awkwardness I think but it never came about with her.
Tomorrow might be harder than tonight was. There was a lot going on tonight that made it easy to be distracted from what was really going on. But there's no hiding from it at the cemetary. She was a Gemini, like my sharkbait will most likely be.
She's on the left with her granddaughter looking up at her.