My grandmother passed away early yesterday morning. She'd just endured two weeks of radiotherapy in the hopes of gaining maybe two more months of life, of time to come to terms with leaving. Sadly, she wasn't granted that in the end. My grandfather told me he was with her all evening, talking to her, holding her hand. He said she didn't close her eyes at all until dawn, and then she went peacefully with the night. I hope that was how it was for her.
She was 87 years old, and up till fairly recently she'd been in good health, if increasingly delicate and frail. They were still living in their own home, mobile, independent of the world but wholly dependent on each other. They were truly soulmates, truly two halves of the same person and I cannot imagine that my grandfather will endure their separation for very much longer. To live so long, to fight a war, to fight oh-so-very-many wars against the world itself after that (as I suspect many of the WWII generation did), to lose a son (my father) and now a wife... No, he will not go quietly, but I think he will go.
I have a real problem with accepting death, with accepting finality. Someone posted on Mary's blog during that we are all eating disordered in denial debacle to the effect that CRONers are terrified of fat and dying. The comment was flawed in context but it cut deep for me because yes, I am terrified of it - more of dying, than of fat, obviously - since I was at my father's side when he went. But then it's not death per se that frightens - it's the helplessness in the face of inevitability, of implacability. Can we delay the inevitable? I guess that is and has been my question since my father passed away five years ago and the attraction of CRON is that, pursued properly, it might offer that possibility; it might be the only way to fight.
But of course there is always the alternative. To find grace, to practice acceptance, to live as well as one can in all ways in the here and now.
I'd like to find a way to combine the two.
But this post shouldn't be about me. It should be about my grandmother and my grandfather, two very human, very flawed people, very much in love for over sixty years. They were, are, and will continue to be an inspiration for me.
RIP Doris. I wish you'd had your two months that you fought so hard for. I hope your son got to where he should be to meet you on the other side. Give him my love, and take mine with you too.