Growing Older

People say growing older is a privilege, one that is denied to many. I agree, but at what point do we draw the line?

My maternal gran – the only grandparent I have left – is dying. I grew up with three grandparents, lost my maternal grandfather at 16. I lost my paternal gran at 27.

My maternal gran is the one I am the closest too. My mom is her only child and my sister and I are her only grandchildren. Ever since my grandfather passed away in 2001, she’s lived with us… and I speak to her everyday – especially since I moved away from home to Cape Town and now Joburg.

Over the past three years my gran has become a lot less stable, and has been losing weight.  Since July 2016, though, she has not been well. Her eyesight has deteriorated rapidly and she’s become a lot more forgetful. In December, she was frail and weak.

A mere four weeks since I last saw her, my gran can barely walk on her own. She needs help and has been asleep a lot. I stayed with her during my stay and learnt she was afraid – but she could not tell me of what. She’s in pain but her medication provide no relief. She sometimes forgets who I am. She has no appetite. She’s far from the person she used to be. It breaks my heart. And I can’t fix it. I can’t make it better.

A family friend who visited over the weekend said that this “dying process/stages” can be a way for us to say goodbye while she is still here. I understand that (my grandfather died suddenly)… but it is still so hard to see her go through it. My paternal gran went through the same process…

I know it is only a matter of time. And I already miss her. I miss talking to her every afternoon – hearing her tease me about something or the other. I’m crying writing this. I’m anxious and scared that at any given moment I could get the phone call.

The only thing certain in life is death. It’s sobering and puts life into perspective (especially since I had a man die on me (he had a sudden heart attack and fell on me) at an airport this Tuesday…but thats another story).

Cherish the people in your life now, tell them you love them. Be with them.

My nani made a huge difference to my life. I love my nani with all of my heart. I already miss her, even if she does not know who I am.

k x

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