A piece of my heart was ripped out last Thursday afternoon, when my grandma died. She'd been in ICU for almost a week, fighting an unknown infection. They pumped her full of antiobiotics, but nothing was killing what was killing her. I don't really know what this means, but her platelet count dropped to 10 at one point. Apparently it needs to be over 100. Both her kidneys and liver were failing.
I went to see her on Monday, when she was still conscious. She heard my voice, KNEW my voice, she did her best to turn towards me. She tried to open her eyes, but she couldn't, but I knew she heard me. When I left I told her I'd see her on Tuesday, but I wasn't able to make it because Sophie was sick (with ANOTHER double ear infection). My dad, uncle and grandfather were with her all day Wednesday. We had all 3 kids, and I couldn't get away to visit. Everything was status quo, but by the time my grandpa had driven the hour home, he got a call from the dr that he needed to get back asap. Her heart had stopped for a minute, but then started beating again on its own.
I was so afraid she wouldn't make it through the night, but she did. I got to the ICU at 8am on Thursday morning and not more than 5 minutes later all her vitals started dropping, heart rate, b/p, oxygen, etc. There were docs and nurses rushing into the room. Despite not wanting to recessitate (and I know that's spelled wrong), my grandpa did agree to a non-invasive mask, bi-pap maybe, that was to be used only to try to get her through that critical period. He also agreed to a med to bring her h/r and b/p back up, to give the antiobiotics the 48 hours they really needed to try to work. It was all working as it should until about 2:30 when the nurse came in to give an update. She told us her kidneys were still not working, and if she did recover she would be faced with dialysis. Not only would she NOT want that, her tiny (even when healthy) body would never tolerate it.
In a very kind way, she told my grandpa there was no hope. He mentioned taking her off the meds, and the nurse suggested it might be a good thing to do. She let him know that after that, she might have minutes to hours left. We tracked down my dad and uncle, who had left the room for a bit. The internal struggle my grandfather was fighting was almost too much to bear. He talked to her, kissed her, told her he loved her more than anything in the world, he apologized, he thanked her. It was such a private moment I felt like an intruder. In the end, they stopped the meds a little after 3 pm. She died 10 minutes later. The meds were doing much more than any of us thought. If they hadn't started them in that morning, she would have surely died not long after I arrived.
In the end, she was surrounded by her husband of 64 (SIXTY FOUR!!!) years, her two sons, my mom and aunt, myself and my sister and a cousin. It's how she would have wanted it, leaving this life surrounded by the family she had started building when she was 16.
It's times like this that my not very religious self screams for someone to promise me there is a Heaven. I cannot imagine never being with her again, never having her to talk to. So many of my childhood memories are tied to her. She and my grandfather were two constants in my life that I could ALWAYS count on to be there for me. Cheerleaders, always. She adored my babies. She last saw them at Easter. She was holding Avery, and I quickly ate my lunch so I could "relieve" her so she could eat. She said "no, I'm not here to eat, I'm here to hold your babies." And that she did.