What would you say to someone on the phone, if you knew it would be the last time you'd ever get to talk to them again?
My grandma isn't doing well. She's very fragile. She's withered away to almost nothing, she rarely opens her eyes, and she's in some pain. The hospice team is trying to keep her as comfortable as possible, but sometimes it's just not enough. She's not eating and rarely drinking.
She has said that she's ready to go...
I asked my Dad a few days ago if it'd be possible to call her. See, she went to Arizona in February, so I hadn't seen her since then. We had hope she'd be well enough to fly back home and live in a nursing home. That hope has diminished. No airline would let her board in the condition she's in. I even explained to my 5 year old daughter how Mimi, as we call her, would be home soon and I explained to her what a nursing home was and why Mimi needed to live there. I thought I would see her again, I thought I would be able to hug her again, and I thought I would be able to tell her how much I love her and how much she means to me. So I was crushed when I learned that she wouldn't be coming home. And my Dad had said she wasn't up for a phone call. Until, the Husker game.
The Husker game changed everything. She was awake. She had her eyes open. She was chatty and watching the game. My Dad called me and told me to call her right away. I did. And I had thought so long and hard about what I would say to her if I could talk to her one last time. I was nervous when my sister handed her the phone. I didn't want to say the wrong thing. Yet, I managed to.
"Hi Mimi!! How are you feeling?? I want to tell you how much I love you and I miss you."
She responded that she loves us so much and is so glad she got to talk to me. She told me to take care of my babies and that she's proud of me and she thinks about us all of the time.
I said, "I hear you're watching the game. The Huskers are kicking the crap out of Idaho State!"
Uh oh. My grandma, like most, is very polite and lady-like. I've never heard her say anything close to a swear word. She is still as sharp as ever, because she had the wit to tell me, "That's not very nice language!"
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Because it's so true to her form, to want me to be lady-like and to speak her mind, but part of me wanted to cry because that's not exactly how I saw what would likely be our last conversation going. I wanted it to be perfect. And I have been beating myself up about saying the "naughty" word.
I recovered by saying, "Mimi, it's okay when you are talking about the Huskers!" And I told her I loved her, that my children loved her so much, and I handed the phone to my sister.
Was that it? Was that the last thing she'd remember about me? That I had a foul mouth? Which, for the record, I don't think I do.
I know she's going to a better place, with no pain or loneliness. She'll be reunited with her husband, who passed away 20 years ago. She'll be reunited with a son, who she lost when he was a toddler, she'll be reunited with her parents, family, and so many friends. She's at peace with the Lord and I know she's going whip anyone who steps out of line up there right back into shape. And I know someday, I'll see her again and we'll talk for as long as we want to and I'll be able to hug her and kiss her like I want to do so badly right now.
I can't say how long she's going to live. Family is telling me maybe a week or a few more days. By the time this blog posts, she could be gone. Selfishly, I pray that she makes a miraculous recovery and she is able to fly back to Nebraska and that we'll watch a Husker game together soon. If she doesn't, I know she'll be watching over us and cheering right along with us every game day. And I will think twice about ever saying the "C" word ever, ever again.