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VioletAlto

grandma dying - I live far away, but I'm in town now... how to say good-bye?

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Hi, everyone. 

This is my first post here, even though I joined the site in October. I'm really in a tough place, I'm not sure what to do. 

My grandmother, who I always had a good relationship with, was close to, and love very much, is dying. She's had several strokes, the latest in August. That's the stroke that finally knocked out what remained of her speech. I spent about an hour with her last night, holding her hand. It's really hard to see her as she is now. She's uncomfortable all the time, she's trapped in a body that does almost nothing she wants it to do. Chances are excellent she'll pass away in the next few months. 

One of the biggest griefs I have is that I live 1000+ miles away from her. I'm here in town until Thursday afternoon (it's Tuesday afternoon). I need to spend some time with her, *really* saying good-bye, if I'm going to do it while she's still alive. But I don't know... I don't know how, and I really don't want to say anything to her that's going to upset her, when she can't talk back. 

My therapist told me to read "The Four Things that Matter Most" and go say the four things to her, so I started writing a letter. And I don't want to read it to her if she's going to be awake while I'm doing it. I'm afraid of upsetting her...? If for no other reason than I'll be crying and she won't be able to say anything. 

But what else can I do? I (think? feel like?) I need to find this closure sometime in the next 48 hours or so, and I don't know how. 

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My dear, your post touches my heart, and I'm so sorry to learn of your grandmother's serious illness. I think your very presence at your grandmother's bedside is what matters most, because just being there for her speaks volumes. I too have read The Four Things That Matter Most (“Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you”) and if you've written a letter along those lines, I doubt very much that reading it to your grandmother would upset her. In fact, I think it would touch her heart ~ and if you cry while doing so, it is simply an indication of the sadness you feel at her leaving ~ and that too would touch her heart. If you cannot bring yourself to read the letter to her yourself, then by all means ask another family member to read it to her after you've gone. In that case, in the time that you have left with her, simply tell your grandmother how very much you love her and how much you're going to miss her, and let it be enough. My thoughts are with you at this sad time.  

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I know it's hard to watch and feel helpless to change her situation.  I feel your love for her through your post and pray you'll give her the words most heartfelt, that she'll know just how much she means to you (and I somehow think she already knows), not only for her, but for you.  I doubt you'll say anything upsetting to her.  If a tear escapes her eye, it's not because you've upset her, it's because you've touched her heart.

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