It had been too long since I went to see grandma. I knew she wasn’t well, but I didn’t know it was so bad. My family is quiet, reserved. We talk, but only when necessary. Speaking about death is just uncomfortable. An outsider may view our family as not wanting to show weakness, but it is nothing like that. It’s simply awkward.
I arrived to the hospital mid afternoon. I’ll be honest, I wanted to catch her while she was sleeping. I wanted to give her my best, and take off. Why? What’s hard about staying with family in their time of need? Yes, it’s rude, and we know. Like eating and leaving immediately. Yet, there is something so fascinatingly awkward about the ill.
Grandma had her favorite song playing. To me, it was one of the worst. There is nothing more annoying than being forced to listen to something you hate. Perhaps that is one reason it is often used in torture. But, she was happy, laying there peacefully.
I touched her hand and gave a soft “Hello” and she lit up when she saw me.
“Oh, it’s you! I’m so glad you were able to come,” she said “I wanted to talk to you.”
“What about, grandma?”
“Don’t do anything in life because that’s what others want you to do. Be your own person. Find happiness. Find peace.”
“Wise words grandma, thank you. I’ve always been happy working at the mall, but everyone is always on my ass to spend tens of thousands on a degree to do something more with my life – but I’m happy as is.”
“Do that forever, and you will out live me,” grandma said jokingly, slowly closing her eyes.
“I’m famished, can I step out quickly the cafeteria and bring something back? Do you want anything?” I asked her.
“No dear, I’m fine.”
I quickly shot down to the hospital cafeteria. I grabbed a quick sandwich, some juice and an apple. I got grandma a little treat, maybe she would want it later.
When I got back to her room, I saw a nurse holding grandma’s wrist, checking her vitals. She slowly pulled her sheets over her head, said a prayer, and told me to take as long as I needed.
I sat by her bedside for hours. It hit me all at once. A tidal wave of emotions I couldn’t control. Just as I was about to start cursing God like death is his fault, the radio turned on.
That incessantly annoying song “Pink” by Aerosmith came blaring out of her radio. I laughed, smiled, kissed grandma on her forehead and left. She was okay, so I knew I would be okay too.