For the past several years my mother's been making a trip to India at the start of the year to visit my grandmother. My grandmother's health has been failing – diabetes, a hyperactive thyroid, Parkinson's and even cancer. She'd had several close calls, but pulled through every time. Knowing her health was poor, my sister and I had been making trips to India as well – my sister went two years ago, I went last year, and my sister and mum were en route to India last night.
My grandmother died this morning.
This is a photo of her, taken February 25, 2009, when I went to India. I wish you could have seen her when she was in the prime of her health. I wish I had more photos of her. I wish I'd seen her more often, spoken with her on the phone more. I wish … so many things.
The last time I saw her she was so frail. She could barely speak. The effort of speaking left her tired. She was wheelchair bound, and needed help eating. The cocktail of drugs she was on drove her body temperature sky high, so she was always complaining of feeling hot. And worse, the drugs made it hard for her to distinguish things she'd dreamt from reality. Still, when she was on she was on. Her mind was still razor sharp, and I could see how frustrated she was to be trapped in a body that refused to obey her.
At times I thought she was hanging on so she could see her grandkids married. Of seven grandchildren, only one is married. My sister got engaged on New Year's. We thought she should wait to tell my grandmother in person, but she wisely overruled us and told her on the phone, so at least she knew that one more of her kids had her feet on the path she'd have loved for us all to have been on. She'll never see my sister's wedding now.
My cousin and his wife took their infant son to India, last year, so my grandmother did see him. I'm so glad of that.
I'm sad for us – the ones she's left behind. The ones who'll never again feel the joy of her company. A small part of my is happy that she's free of the body that betrayed her, and became a cage. I want that small part of me to be right.
But I can't help but cry.