One Final Goodbye
It was a beautiful spring afternoon in October when I was greeted by my mother at the front door of my grandmother’s unit. Her expression was grim, but she managed a courageous smile and wrapped her arms around me in a tight, comforting hug. "You got here quickly, come on in." She gestured me inside, and as I entered the living room, the familiar odours of decaying flesh and hospital disinfectant enveloped me. To me, it had become the smell of great suffering and looming death. It was a smell that lingered in my airways for days, but grounded in my memory forever.
There, in her cosy little living room was my grandmother, affectionately known by family as Nanny Noo, tucked in to her hospital bed. I took a seat in an empty bedside chair and surveyed her closely. The bandages on her face barely covered the horror caused by MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which had plagued her entire body for the past two years. Her mouth was agape, exposing her dry, peeling tongue and swollen throat; and she managed only short, raspy breaths. Her complexion had become pallid grey and she looked so tired, yet she had been sleeping continuously for the past four days. She was barely a shadow of her former spirited self.
Her left arm lay exposed beside her body, and clutched in her hand was the precious silver cross dangling from a chain which usually adorned her neck. A leather-bound bible lay by her side and her crocheted Magpies cushion by her feet. Her favourite gospel music dulled the hum of the morphine IV feeder beneath her bed, and a bizarre sense of subdued calm hovered in the air.
I cradled her warm, soft hand in both of mine, and a single heavy tear raced down my cheek. Something about her took my breath away; and with it, all the words I had wanted to say. I wanted to thank her for a lifetime of unconditional love, and for guiding me with her wisdom and understanding through my darkest hours. I wanted to tell her how inspirational she was and how much I admired her strength and courage. I wanted to tell her I was sorry for the times I may have disappointed her, and that I would spend the rest of my life making her proud. I wanted to tell her just how special she was to me; but of all these things, all I could manage to say was ‘I love you Nanny Noo’.
I cried silently by her bedside for what seemed an eternity, memories of our times together flooded my consciousness. A soft knock at the front door snapped me back to reality, and I turned my gaze to meet the saddened eyes of my grandmother’s estranged best friend, Faye. She had heard of my grandmother’s illness and came to say her final goodbye, so after one last kiss on my Nanny Noo’s forehead, I thanked Faye for coming, hugged my mum, and headed home with a very heavy heart.
As I entered my living room some fifteen minutes later, the telephone rang and after a moment’s hesitation, I answered the call from my mum. She was bearing news that my precious Nanny Noo had finally surrendered into the waiting arms of god, just a few minutes after I left. Speechless and trembling at the knees, I was instantly consumed with a mixture of relief, and selfishly, a deeper sadness than I ever imagined. Nanny Noo had finally claimed her place beside her beloved god in heaven.
Last edited by kelzaa; 04-22-2007 at 05:04 AM..