Please do not read this if you don’t have time. This is a long story about my Grandma.
Today, July 1st, I decided to write again…. After putting it off for a few months, I think it’s time I get back into my writing world. It had been a rough few months and the worst was saying goodbye to my beloved grandma, the only living grandparent I had.
When my sister told me it was my mother’s wish that I went to see grandma before she passed, I told myself, perhaps I should go home. But my grandma beat cancer last year and I never thought she would go this early. I knew her health was deteriorating. I witnessed it with my own eyes last Christmas. It broke my heart to see her so fragile. In the end, I booked my flight for the weekend.
It was a long and horrible ordeal, Doctor now said grandma wouldn’t last 24 hours. My heart broke and I prayed hard that she would wait for me to say my final farewell. My sister asked me if I would like to see grandma on webcam. I was at work. Luckily, I was sitting outside. Tear rolled down my face. She knew who I was and said she loved me. She tried to touch my sister’s phone as if to touch me. My heart broke to million pieces. Even now, I had tears in my eyes. I am sorry, Grandma that you suffered so much. But you’re at peace now.
Grandma pulled through and made it passed the 24 hours deadline. Doctors were speechless. Grandma, ever so strong-willed, cheated death. The nurse believed it was the webcam that made her stronger. She thought I should keep talking to Grandma. I couldn’t concentrate at work and my mind was elsewhere. Grandma cheated death two more times. On the night before I fly, Grandma said all of a sudden: Jesus is coming. I sought prayers from all my friends all around the world. Through Facebook and Twitter, friends and strangers alike prayed grandma would hang on til I arrive.
The fourth time Grandma cheated death, I was waiting for my flight in Paris. My heart crushed when my sister said I might not be able to see grandma. Doctor gave another deadline for grandma. She wouldn’t live passed midnight or next morning. My flight delayed for one hour. I never thought I’d make it to my final destination. On the plane, I prayed. I never prayed so hard in my life. I prayed my Rosary over and over and over. And I know MANY people all around the world prayed for grandma to hang it there. Many tears rolled down my cheeks. Luckily nobody sat beside me. And I finally gave in. I whispered in my head, Grandma, if you have to go now, you can. I understand. I accepted it all.
Then, the most magical thing happened to me… Grandma appeared in my dream. She was younger, happy, and smiling and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what she was saying. My whole body was filled with peace. I told myself, if Grandma passed, I peacefully accept. Grandma is at peace.
When the plane landed, I rushed to my next plane. With less than 30 minutes to catch my next plane, by some crazy magic, I made it. I turned on my phone and saw my sister’s text that Grandma was still with us. And what she told me next blew my mind away. She said the night before, Grandma said loudly: Irene is coming! I believe that was the time I saw her in my dream. By God’s power, I made it to my final destination. The kind officers allowed me to leave my luggage behind. I didn’t have time to wait. I headed straight for the hospital. As soon as I entered the room, I headed straight for her and I told her: I am here, Grandma. I am Irene. I am here. Do you know me?
She nodded and tears rolled down my cheeks like rain. I stayed for a while and when Doctor said her condition was stable again, I left to get my luggage at the airport and went home to shower and headed back for the hospital. Despite my long journey and exhaustion, I stayed awake the whole night, watching Grandma. My sister stayed with me at the hospital. She couldn’t stay awake and I let her sleep. Grandma’s oxygen level went up and down. She was uncomfortable but slept most of the night. The next morning, before my sister woke up, I whispered to Grandma: Grandma, you don’t have to suffer anymore. I am here now. You can leave if you want. It’s all right now. I love you, Grandma. Thank you for everything.
That afternoon, my sister rested and I held the Rosary. I asked Grandma: Do you want to say the Rosary? She nodded. I recited the whole Rosary loud enough for Grandma to hear. In the middle of the prayers, I saw something red to my right from the corner of my eye. I didn’t mention it and kept praying. I kissed my Grandma’s forehead and told her I love her.
That evening, my uncle and aunt came. I wanted to stay, but they told me to go home and get some rest. As soon as my cousin dropped me and my sister off, we received phone calls that we better head back to the hospital. Doctor said Grandma’s health was deteriorating. We rushed to the hospital and another called came…. Grandma had passed. Surprisingly, no tears this time. Only solemn peace. I told myself, At least Grandma is now at peace. And I understood the red ‘thing’ I saw while praying the Rosary. I believe it was Jesus’s robe. The one and only statue that Grandma gave me many years ago when I left home was of Jesus wearing red.
That night, we placed Grandma’s body in the parlor behind the Church. And stayed there for two nights. We only went home to shower and then back to the parlor. I slept on the first night, but stayed awake the whole night on the second. On the funeral day, my sister got sick. I felt sorry for her. She was there the whole time Grandma was in the hospital but on the funeral day, she got sick and stayed at home. I didn’t know how I managed to go through the funeral and then the night prayer at my cousin’s house. I was running on fumes. I kept telling myself, this is for Grandma. I can do this. On the 7th and last day of the prayers, I finally got sick. I lost my voice and couldn’t pray or sing.
The flight back was the worst flying experience I ever had. I was never sick on the plane before. I survived it but when I reached home, I showered and threw up like crazy. I skipped dinner and went straight to bed. And even now, writing this, I was not 100% well.
But I told myself, Grandma suffered so much while waiting for me to say goodbye, I can take this sickness. It’s nothing compared to what Grandma had endured. I now look up to the heavens and say: Grandma, Please watch over me and do know I love you very very much! Thank you for everything! And I’m very sorry for not spending more time with you.
My next book will be dedicated to her.
I love you, Grandma.