Sunday night after I had gotten into my cute VS pajamas, Mike IMed me and said his parents were heading back up to the hospital after one of his aunts called, adding that he would be following them shortly. His aunt made it sound pretty urgent that everyone get there right away, Grandma Mary was doing very badly (her heartbeats per minute [BPM] could not get above about 45) and the doctors didn’t expect her to make it through the night. It wasn’t the first time they said this though. I offered to go with Mike for moral support and he took me up on the offer, so I got back into my jeans and drove out to meet him somewhere so we could drive up together.
Once we got to the hospital I found that Mike’s mother’s ENTIRE family was there. She has five sisters, and every one of them was there with their significant other, their kids, and their significant others. Everyone was looking very grave and crying, and one look at Grandma Mary let me know why. She had no strength at all and could barely nod her head. She was heavily sedated and we could tell by the glossy haze in her eyes. Mike couldn’t bring himself to talk to her and we spent the next two hours at her bedside, Mike staring at the heart monitor, willing the numbers to go up, and me standing next to him, feeling completely useless and invisible.
Sometime around the 1.5 hour mark Papa Al (Mary’s husband) and all the sisters had a talk with the doctor. He let them know the only thing keeping Mary alive was the medication they were giving her to make her heart beat, basically something like adrenaline. At this point the doctors had no hope she would pull through this time, and we knew he was right. So they agreed to take her off of the medication and only give her pain relief, to make her passing as comfortable as possible.
After that, Papa Al asked us all to leave so he could be alone with her. We went down to the waiting area down the hall and sat there in silence, knowing that the sun would rise in a few short hours and Mary wouldn’t. Mike was having an especially hard time with it, being a Christian and knowing his grandmother wasn’t. It broke his heart to think of her going any place other than heaven for all of eternity, and I tried my best to convince him that only God and Mary know what’s in her heart, maybe she did decide to trust in God at the end and accept him into her life. I truly hope she did.
At around 3 AM Mike, Greg, Kristin and I decided to leave. There was nothing more we could do and I’m sure Mary wouldn’t have wanted us all waiting around for her death. We went up one last time to say goodbye to her, something Mike could barely choke out. I’m glad he did though. It was the last time we ever saw her alive.
We got home at about 4 AM and crawled into bed, especially welcome to me since I had spent the night before that up late as well. Grandma Mary passed away at 4:30 AM on Monday morning, the 23rd of January, with her family by her side willing her to stay here on earth with us. But sometimes that’s not in the plans. I truly believe that God was watching over Mary and wanted to be a part of her life, and I’m glad he ended her suffering when he did. It broke my heart to see her suffering like she was. She led a good, long life, and no one can ask for more, can they?