Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Journey To The End

A few days before my grandmother died this year, my mum and I were talking about how she just wanted her to finally "go with my grandfather and into the gates of heaven." Her last few weeks on earth seemed to be the most painful to her -- physically! It is not so much that my mum was being mean or selfish for saying that, but you had to be there to know what she means. I would fly home quite frequently to visit her in fear that I may never be able to do it again. And every time I'd see her, my heart broke a little.

Just like anyone laying on the deathbed, there came a point where she stopped waking up and opening her eyes, her hand grip became almost non-existent, oxygen had to help her breathe as she started wheezing, and she stopped eating (the nurse had to feed her through a tube). I couldn't stand looking at her in that state. I was extremely thankful to the nurse for being so compassionate -- she would comb my grandma's hair lovingly, put lipstick on her from time to time and lathered her face with moisturizer to keep it from peeling. May God bless her kind soul.

The nurse also told me that there were times when my grandma would call out my grandfather's name (he died some 25 years ago) in the middle of the night. Goosebumps populated my epidermis all over my body -- she was already being fetched. I knew it was all she had been waiting for.

The ground beneath me stopped moving the day I got the dreaded phone call from my sister that my grandma died. I was in the middle of the pavement on the way to the grocery store then. I found a small rock to sit down on and dialed up my mother's number to confirm the news. She picked up clumsily and started spewing incoherent words in the middle of sobs and chokes on the phone. I whispered a few words of assurances but we both knew that it was only for the best.

I sat on that rock for several minutes trying to process everything that just happened. My brain was chanting "she's dead, she's gone, she's dead, she's gone" and effectively, I knew it was my cue to cry for my loss. I waited for the tears to come... none. I went to the grocery, bought a few knick-knacks, went home, sat in bed... still no tears.

I prayed for my late grandma's soul and looked back on my lovely memories with her. Still no tears.

For a while, I felt guilty for my lack of tears. Why was I not mourning? Could it be that I've been expecting her death for so long that the nightmare's realization became almost anti-climactic?

It was only recently that it dawned on me that I was actually happy for my grandma that she's in a far better place than the rest of us -- she's happy with the Lord, with my grandpa, in paradise. Why cry when you're feeling only happiness for someone? Sure, I'm sad for my family's loss but ultimately, we are happy that she is finally delivered from pain and suffering and that she has fulfilled a full life... and is now with her maker.

She lived a full life. Now she has reached its end and is embarking on the next journey -- one that is still unknown to the rest of us. We could only pray for her journey's success and her peace.

I miss you greatly, Lola, I love you. We all do.

I'm no longer sorry for not crying when you passed away. I only feel happiness for you and not grief. I'm only sorry that I can't be with you right now... but at one point, I will be. I hope you're there when it's my turn to take that journey. I will have a lot of stories to tell you.