Saturday, January 7, 2012


As you'll know if you follow me on Twitter, I'm back in the States for the weekend.

Yes, you read that right: the weekend.

This is how it went down...

10:38pm Wednesday - received text from Dad
11:19pm Wednesday - booked flight to New York
4:30pm Thursday - boarded plane at Heathrow
8:00pm Thursday - landed at JFK
10:00am Friday - arrived at hospital

My grandmother is very ill.  There are lots of things medically wrong with her - which explains the hospital - but the overwhelming problem is, basically, that she's old, and when you're old your body stops being able to work the way it needs to in order for you to function appropriately.  (This had to be explained to me, by the way, very slowly and using small words; for a very long time I couldn't comprehend how organs and muscles and things stop doing their jobs.  I mean, what the hell are they doing if they're not doing what they're meant to do?  It's not like you can play Trivial Pursuit in there.)

I spent most of Friday at Grandma's bedside and I have to say that, while it was wonderful to be there, surrounded by my family, it was also incredibly difficult.  My father had briefed me thoroughly on his mother's status and I had tried to rearrange my expectations to be as realistic as possible, but nothing can prepare you for seeing someone you love in that condition.  To be honest, it's probably for the best that Grandma wasn't aware of her surroundings when I arrived because it would probably have disturbed her further to see me bursting into uncontrollable tears.  I'm so grateful that she made it through the fog long enough to recognize that I was there, but unfortunately her clarity didn't last long and she spent most of the afternoon lapsing in and out of delirium.

We have no idea what the future holds for Grandma or even how long the future might be; she has been diagnosed as terminal and will remain so even if my father and aunt decide to go forward with interventionist measures.  I'll be heading back to London early in the week because there isn't really anything further I can do, but I'm very glad that I am able to be with her and with my family this weekend.


  1. Oh Betsy, I am so sorry. I know how very hard it is to be so far away when something like this happens, I had almost the same situation with my grandmother when I was in London. I am sending your family good wishes for peace with your grandmother and I hope you have a safe trip home.


  2. This is really really difficult. My thoughts are with you. Safe journeys x

  3. Betsy, I hope your grandmother gets through this and that you as well get through this. Having lost close grandparents relatively recently, I know how hard it is to see them slip away. I hope that you are able to make peace with the process and can get something true to hold on to as the days go by. x


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