I expected losing her but I didn't expect it to hit me so hard

by Jay

My mom and I moved in with my grandparents when I was 1 1/2 and my grandfather passed away when I was 3. I'm 25 now and my grandmother passed away in May. She has taken care of me my whole life. My mom worked a lot and I was with my grandmother all the time. She walked me to school, took care of me when I was sick, was at every dance recital, school concert, first day of school, dance, graduation, everything. She did drive me crazy most of the time but I wish she could drive me crazy for just one more day.
She got sick in February with a bleeding ulcer and lost half of her blood volume. Because of the blood transfusions and and the antibiotics she ended up with C Diff. and had to go to the hospital to be treated less than a month from coming home from the ulcer. In the hospital she started getting dementia and then when the c diff didn't go away the doctor did an endoscopy/colonoscopy and found a major blockage that had to be operated on right away. My grandma was 86 and having a major surgery to remove 6 inches of intestine was very risky. I knew it wasn't good but I figured if she made it through the surgery she would live to be 100. She made it through the surgery great and she went to a rehab center. They did not take the best care of her and we noticed she had a hard time breathing and I immediately worried about her getting pneumonia. They gave her oxygen but didn't get her out of bed enough. She was in a lot of pain from the surgery and had a hard time making it to the bathroom and they never came in time so she ended up going in her bed and she has always been a proud woman. She let me change her diapers and my mom but no one else. She knew that we would never make her feel gross or embarrassed like other people might.
It was surreal taking care of her when she always took care of me. I think that's why I did help her without question; because she did take care of me my whole life no matter what. One of the nurses thought I was a nurse because I knew so much about her and her medications but I have been helping take care of her for 2 years now (my dad had a stroke 3 years ago and my mom left to take care of him so I stayed to take care of my grandma). My grandma was supposed to come home 3 weeks after going into the rehab but she got an infection in her arm and then pneumonia which is what ultimately killed her. She was in the hospital/rehab for a month before everything happened. She went into the hospital on a Tuesday night for her breathing, they put a respirator mask on Friday and asked her if she would go on a respirator so they could try to clear up the pneumonia if absolutely necessary and she said yes she wanted to fight. (I think that makes it a little harder; knowing that she was willing to fight and lost) by now my whole family came to see her and she told me that she must be dieing if everyone is coming to visit her. Unfortunately she had a large family with 5 kids, 16 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren and not many people came to see her so everyone coming in one day worried her.
On Friday I left work early knowing that it wasn't going to be good. Saturday morning my mom got a call to get there fast because they had to put the respirator on her immediately because she was doing much worse. My mom said she saw her fading away but got to say goodbye and told her to go with my grandfather if she wanted to. Her white blood cell count was extremely high and they thought they could fight it. When I went to see her in her room in ICU with the respirator breathing for her I freaked out. I was with my cousin and she just looked like she was in pain. Her face looked pained and she was coughing, the nurse said she needed to suction phlegm out of her lungs and when she did she looked like she was in so much pain and her whole body lurched up and the nurse said that she wasn't completely sedated and it feels like she's choking. Seeing her like that was the worst experience ever. Seeing her hurt like that was honestly traumatizing. I held her hand and she squeezed mine the nurse gave her more sedation but I was hysterical and when I left the room I ran into the bathroom had a little melt down and then started to have an asthma attack. I was getting ready to move out on May 15th and I felt so guilty leaving but my mom told me that I couldn't stay out of guilt. I was supposed to move my stuff in on that Sunday the 6th but got a call from my mom telling me to come say goodbye because her body was deteriorating rapidly and a decision had to be made about whether to keep her on the respirator or not. I immediately turned around and went to the hospital. I got my 10 minutes alone with her to say everything I needed to say and to say goodbye. I told her how much I love her and how thankful I am to have her in my life and that she was such a big part of it. That night at 3:45 they took her off the respirator and put a morphine drip in. Everyone was in the room waiting for her to take her last breath and each space in-between breathes felt like forever. Mostly everyone left except for my mom, aunt, cousin, uncle and myself for most of the night. I fell asleep next to my grandma for a little bit but I left around midnight with my cousin.
The next day we all went back and they moved her to a room where everyone could stay and we waited. She was getting colder and stiffer and she didn't look like herself anymore. I felt like I had to be there but I felt like I couldn't be there at the same time. I didn't want to leave her but I was having a hard time watching her die bit by bit. We brought the nurse in and asked why it was taking so long and she said that maybe someone was keeping her here and not letting her go. Everyone thought it was my cousin. I stayed in the room until my cousin made everyone go and eat dinner. While we were eating in the cafeteria we got a call telling us to come up right away; it was time. I got to the door and realized that she would not want me to watch her take her last breath and at that moment she passed away. I wonder if I was the reason she held on so long; because I wasn't going to leave the room. Once she passed I was slightly relieved knowing that she wasn't suffering anymore. I had a hard time the next day; we were going through pictures for the funeral and it was just all too much. I ended up in the hospital with an asthma attack. She passed on a Monday and we had the wake on Thursday because her birthday was that Wednesday; she would have been 87. I laid on my couch until the wake. I barely ate and I just slept for about two days. The wake and the funeral felt like I was standing still and everyone was moving around me. Moving out made me feel guilty and horrible. I didn't want to leave her house; I didn't want to leave the house I grew up in but I already paid the money and couldn't get out of it. I'm living with my boyfriend now and I enjoy living on my own but I just hate that my grandma never got to see it; I told her about it and she was happy but I know she would have loved to see it.

It's been 4 months and I just get overwhelmingly sad and it's getting worse. I'm constantly thinking about her and seeing things she would have liked or places I could have taken her. It's like I go about my day feeling fine and then all of a sudden it's like someone punched me in the stomach and I just hysterically cry. I can't get over the never seeing her thing again. I think about things she isn't going to be able to be at like my wedding and how she will never meet my kids and it's just depressing. Everyone says I shouldn't cry and that it's life but it feels like it's getting harder, not easier and I'm having a hard time handling it.

Comments for I expected losing her but I didn't expect it to hit me so hard

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Sep 25, 2012
i can relate
by: Anonymous

i read your story while i was going through one of those hysterical crying phase you were talking about. my beautiful grand mother also passed away in similar conditions she has oesophegeal cancer and after her stent placement she got pneumonia and pneumothorax. she too was a very strong woman and also a woman of pride i can so relate to what youre saying because she would only let me and my mom change her diapers and no one else. i too spent my childhood till the age of 15 with her< we moved after that but i saw her every week! it has now been 8 months since she left us. life goes on iam not saying i am depressed all the time but exactly like you i have my moments like right now its 4 in the morning i was watching a movie and all of a sudden her face just appeared in front of me and my whhole world collapsed and once this happens i cant stop crying, i hate it because i know she would hate it. i know he is painless and peaceful but maybe iam just too selfish i want her here i want her to see things with me i want to hug her and hold on to her hands and force her to eat right and take her medicines on time. i want to travel with her, she loved travelling. i wanted her to meet my husband and kids. i want her. my heart just feels like it is in shreds. and i cant talk to anyone about it! family because i dont want to remind them about all the pain and friends because i am not sure they can help or understand and i dont want to put them in that awkward situation. i feel like iam alone, i love her and i can love anyone more. i lost my love my everything . i wanna be able to think about her in peace and smile like they do in the movies but i cant. she has left me with sweet fully painful memories. what do i do. iam sorry if this is a completely in coherent blabber but i dont know iam just broken

Sep 23, 2012
I expected losing her but I didn't expect it to hit me so hard
by: Doreen U.K.

Jay I am sorry for your loss of your mom. I lost my husband 4 3/4 months ago from cancer. We are in the same time frame with our loss. It is painfull. We wonder how we can go on without ever seeing our loved ones again. this is the hard part. It is a daily battle and struggle for some time. Our only HOPE is God. He created life. He also takes life away. This is what sustains me as I go on each day. I cry a lot. My body aches with grief. I hope for all of us that this grief does not consume us. We will find our way out of our sorrow in time.

Sep 22, 2012
It's Never Easy
by: judith in California

Jay, I'm sorry for the lss of your Mom. People thnk tht just becasue we knew someone was sick and eventually going to die that it's easier.. That, as we know , is so far from the acutuality of it. It soemtimes hits us harder becasue we were their caregivers as well.
Please know that all the things you're feeling are normal. It's how we heal in remembering all the things that made up tehm and our relationship with them. We will never forget them as there is so much around to remind us of them.

Look to heaven for Strength to get to the peaceful and acceptance side of this.

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