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Lost My Grandmother

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Three months ago, the most tragic thing, that I never thought would happen, happened. I lost my nana. She was only 66 years old. She was the strongest, most amazing person I've ever met.

It started 4 years ago, she was diagnosed with lung cancer with the tumor resting on the pulminary valve. They said her chances were very slim. My Nana, worked throughout every day she had cancer and made a miraculous recovery. Everything was great for a few years.

Then last November, she had to get part of her colon removed. The surgery lasted a lot longer than it was expected to. She ended up in a coma for 3 weeks. We thought we had lost her. On thanksgiving, she coughed up the ventilator she was on and she was breathing on her own. We were amazed. The first thing words she said were "We're going on a cruise." We did. We went on a cruise, and I have the best memories with her.

I spent the summer away in Belgium on my exchange. I skipped our last family camping trip that we did every year. I used to beat myself up every day for that, but I know she was proud of me for making it out and seeing the world. On August 28th, 2 days after I got home, I received a phone call saying I needed to get to the hospital, that my grandmother had fallen at work. It was the first time I had seen her since I got home. She had fractured her hip and needed a partial replacement. We were afraid she would end up in a coma so we had them take extra precautions to make sure that it wouldnt happen. She came out of the surgery fine. We thought she was okay. Then on September 13th, at around 11pm, I got another phone call. Telling me to get to the hospital, that it really didn't look good. I got there and went in to see her. She said to me "I guess we'll have to reschedule my nail appointment, huh?" She wanted me to paint her toe nails because she didnt want to go to the doctors without them being painted. I started crying with her because I knew something was wrong. She told me to "keep my chin up" just as she always did.

I went back out into the waiting room and layed in the chair listening to my music. I can't remember the song I was listening to, and thats probably for the better because if I heard it now I would probably break down, but I just sat there and cried. No one understood why, we al thought she was going to be okay. I was so scared though. For the first time I was truly scared that I was going to lose her. At 5am, they told me to go see her because they were going to put her on a breathing tube again. I went in to see her and she seemed okay, I had hope. Then she told me she would see me when she woke up. She never woke up.

They put her in the ICU. Every time I went in there, her heart rate was even lower. I wanted my cousin to be there. I needed him to be there. But my aunt wouldn't call him to come because she didn't want him to worry. I went down to the cafeteria to get some food. By this time they knew me by my first name. My phone started to ring as I was getting my food. It was my mom telling me to hurry up because they were giving her her last rights. I ran up there, faster than I ever have in my life. I walked in half way through the prayer. After that, we thought we had at least a few hours with her. 20 minutes later, the nurses came to get us to tell us she was passing.

We sat in the room with her as she went. All 12 of us. I just layed there in my dads arms as we both cried, mind you I've never seen my dad cry a day in my life, and my nana was just his mother in law. When she had officially passed, it was 12:20 pm. I remember looking at the clock.

My cousin showed up about a half hour later. I saw him and started crying and screaming. I didn't know how I was going to survive. I remember sitting in the hallway with my 3 cousins, aged 11, 12 and 18. We were all just crying and screaming. We didn't understand how we could have her taken away from us.

At the wake, I just sat in the corner and cried the whole time. My cousin had to drag me up to her casket, but even then, I don't think I really looked at her. I couldn't. I didn't want to believe it. People tried to come up and talk to me, but I couldn't stop crying long enough. I was told I would be speaking at the funeral. So I wrote something for it. I may include it. I started crying as I read off the paper. My 11 year old cousin came up behind me and rubbed my back. It only made me cry more, being 18 and having to be consoled my an 11 year old. I finished. We went to this place afterwards. I probably got a total of 3 hours of sleep that entire week.

Here is what I'm going through now. Since I wasn't here for the majority of the end of her life, I feel like she just went on vacation, or like I'm just on another exchange or something. And the hardest part, I feel like I lost my mother that day too. My mom doesn't stop crying. and when I hear her cry, I feel like reality is going to sink in if I listen to it so I have to leave. I don't know what to do. I want my grandmother back. I want my mom back.

None of my friends called me until weeks after she had gone. The one time I needed them the most. None of them were there. I feel betrayed by them.

I feel like I've lost complete control of my life, and I don't know how to gain it back.

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Dear friend,

I know what it is like to have hope that the one we love so much will be there, to talk with us, to laugh with us, to hold onto and then have it snatched away without notice. That happened when I lost my husband. There was one day, I too, felt he was getting worse and the tears kept coming. I sat there like a zombie, afraid of what could happen. He just looked at me and said, "What's with you?" It is so very hard and your life does change. Please be patient with your mom. You will get her back, but she needs to cry right now.

I was with my grandmother when she died, though she was quite a bit older than yours and we were more prepared for it. She made it look easy, peaceful, going from those of us she did everything for, into a place that held all the rest of those she loved. We were left behind, happy for her, yet sorry for ourselves because she was such an important person in our lives. I was always worried when her time came, that she would be alone. By heaven's grace, she wasn't. My mom and I were there and knowing that made it easier for her. I didn't really cry that much (except when I read at her funeral.) I cried before, when she was sick or I was afraid of her dying, but at the actual moment, she made it look so natural.

Your nana sounds like she was so strong and I'm guessing she passed that strength to you. I'm glad you were with her. Things will be unreal for a while and it's natural to feel abondoned, by her, by your friends, even your mom. Grief is a personal journey, different for each of us. Your life will fall into place after a while and you will feel richer, for the time you had spent with Nana and for the many gifts of her spirit you carry with you. The day after my Grams died, all the flowers in my pots had been upended. We believe she was once again able to dance without pain and she loved flowers. Look for Nana in the things she loved. I believe you will see her again.

Keep coming back to let us know how you are doing. We'll be here for you.



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Oh Brittany I'm so sorry about your Nan. (((Hugs)))

What a special lady she must have been! Like Kath said, I too am so glad you were able to be with her.

Kath gave you some excellent thoughts there and I echo all of what she has said.

And as a Mom.. who lost her Mom... I understand you may feel like you are losing your own Mom now. But truly you aren't. She's just sad hon. And that's ok. She is still your Mom.. and always will be.

Hearing her cry .... I know.... it makes it all more real doesn't it? Not everyday you see or hear your folks crying is it? Bet it is happening loads more frequently now. And that's ok.. it's all good and healthy expression of their grief and your tears are the same for your own grief... normal and healthy & healing.

So I know you say you don't want to hear your Mom cry because it reminds you that your Nan has passed. But your Mom (and you) need to let those tears fall right now. It may indeed feel odd to see your Mom so upset.. but it's all ok... really. It's just your Mom feeling like she wants her Mom back too. We all want that sometimes.

Your Nan must have been SUCH a wonderful Mom and Nan. I'm so glad you had someone like that in your life.

I too was crying almost constantly after my Gram passed too. I was so surprised by my own response. I knew she was elderly, not well and was going to pass soon. But when she actually passed... I was a mess.

She and I had a special bond and I was a few years older than you when I lost her... but I was devastated. I still miss her...... and that was almost 26 yrs ago. I still talk to her and I can still hear her in my heart. I believe she helps me still to this day and I feel her presence around me from time to time. You see... love never dies.

I have learned that how much I hurt after someone I love passes, is exactly how much and how well I was loved by them and loved them in return.

About your friends... I think sometimes people pull away from us when they don't know what to say or what to do. And this would be especially true of any friends you have that have not yet lost someone significant in their life. So it's not like they are necessarily abandoning us ... it's just they have no idea how not to upset us further OR make us feel any better. So maybe that may help you understand a bit why you didn't hear from them for a bit there.

Yes by all means keep us posted on how you are doing. It's early days yet, so please go easy with yourself.


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I don't have any advice since it's fresh to me, too. Your post touched me, though, and reminded me of when I ran into the hospital. I screamed and cried, and it seems like nothing will ever be okay again. ((hugs)) I'm so sorry your friends haven't been there. But maybe they just don't know what to say. After all, what can you say in a situation like this? I'm so sorry you lost your nana.

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