You Say Goodbye…

you-say-goodbye-and-i-say-helloYesterday things looked dire for my 96yr old grandmother. This isn’t the first time she’s been rushed to hospital via ambulance. Given the nature of my life, single adoptive/foster mom living an hour away, I don’t always make it to her bedside. I have once before. By the time I got there she was perfectly fine.

I had my friend’s three foster children this weekend. When my dad text that things were quite serious, I didn’t know what to do. In the end we rushed off to the hospital. The dinner dishes were left. Hastily I put my girls in dresses and grabbed a bag of chips from the cupboard. We drove an hour to the small town hospital.

Into the tiny structure I marched with 5 children. Though nearly 5yrs old I put Athena in a stroller. Having her contained made Raine much calmer. Normally the two race down halls despite my pleas of, “Walking! Walking! You need to be walking!”

“My you have have a group there,” the woman at emergency reception commented.

“Yes,” I said smiling back at her. This is how it goes. Being on my own means carting kids to some unlikely places – like small town emergency rooms at 8pm on a Saturday night. I tried, with out success, to find a sitter. I was ok with that. However there was a panic inside of me about how Raine and Athena would behave.

They were unusually quite as we discovered my grandmother holding on with the help of various machines. My parents were already there.

We watched her struggle to breath with an oxygen mask strapped to her face. My dad settled the older kids, belonging to my friend, in a near by waiting room. It’s hard to know what Grandma was aware of. We talked to her a bit. But what to say?

The nurse came to transport Grandma out of emergency into a room on the third floor. We hung out in the front lobby waiting for that to occur.

Then I traversed with my parents and 5 kids up to the third floor. The smattering of staff and patients flat out stared at us. What do other people do in these situations – single or non? I suppose they leave their children with babysitters. But, had I been able to secure one, I still would have brought Raine. She has a special bond with my grandma. The woman hadn’t smiled in years until Raine came along. The first time they met, Grandma couldn’t stop smiling even in the pictures that were snapped. Generally annoyed with most kids (and adults), my grandma found no fault in Raine. She loved seeing her.

The sight of her great-grandma frail and distant made Raine suddenly quiet. On our drive there, Raine wouldn’t accept this as a time to say goodbye. I didn’t know what to say. Goodbye seemed very appropriate. But suddenly unfortunate. There are so many questions I’d like answered. My grandmother is a mystery to me.

We left around 9pm. I ordered 6 beverages at a Tim Horton’s drive through. The woman working there repeated the number several times to be sure she’d heard correctly. I passed out drinks and chips to the kids. We drove home.

I thought about the funeral to come. Ever efficient, Grandma has prearranged everything. As a child she took me to see the plots she and my grandfather purchased. It’s probably been 10yrs since my grandpa passed away. There are so many things I still want to know about them both.

Perhaps some questions will be answered. Saturday morning, my grandma was sitting up and eating breakfast. Seems the end has not come. The goodbye is yet again another opportunity to say hello.