Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I am in Maryland to help my folks with the snow, but also to help with my Grandmother, who is dying. She is 91, and receiving hospice care at my parents' home, and took a turn for the worse yesterday, with a small stroke. Another small stroke (we think) followed today. She is frail, and pale, and seems tied to this earth by the slenderest of threads; her breath comes out in little wisps. I think back to all the moments, as if in a slideshow, that we have had together; her teaching me to do ceramics, her explaining how to survive on swamp cabbage if you have to (she's an ol' country girl at heart), her holding up a turtle for my inspection. She brought me to church when my family didn't attend, on summer vacations, and planted in my mind the idea of heaven, and what waited there.
The tables are turned, as I, whispering and holding her little hand, remind her what waits for her there. It is so hard to let her go, but how lucky I have been. How very, very lucky. The valley between life and death is the lonliest place on earth for the watchers. I can only hope that the valley that Mary Helen is in is anything but.