Heaven Is Near
“The hospice nurse said Grandma has a few days to live.” That was the text I received from my sister, who is in America, on my way to work this morning in Chongqing, China. I had so many questions zooming into my mind at lightning speed. Questions like, “what happened to the few months the doctor told her she had? Is grandpa okay? Can my family handle the loss? Can I be strong to survive this storm?”
Instead of putting all the questions to my sister, I turned my attention to the other cars stopped in traffic. The drivers and the passengers I could see seemed okay. They didn’t appear that they had just received shocking news on the way to wherever they were going. Yet again, I didn’t think I looked like someone whose Grandma was about to die.
My phone beeped. It was sis again. She said, “I was walking back to my car, and I saw grandpa walking Chewie, his dog, and he came to me because I was crying and he was like, ‘I don’t care about coronavirus, come here.’”
Those words made me lose it.
Have you ever thought you were strong until you hear someone’s sad story and start crying? That was me at the back of the Didi (uber in China) on my way to work.
As soon as the rivers were opened, it was hard to stop them. I cried as I walked to school after being dropped off by the Didi. I had a mask and glasses on, so the teachers who saw me come into the school did not suspect anything.
In the school, I called my husband, who lovingly comforted and prayed for me as well as my family grieving for Grandma in America. I then decided to go home because I couldn’t stop thinking about Grandma and definitely could not stop the tears.
One of my fellow Christ-loving women sent me a resource on grieving. I opened the link she shared and found an ebook called, Crossing the Creek, by Michael Holmes. I read the short book on my way home. Two of the points the book talked about were loss of appetite and illusions. I remember sis telling me that Grandma was starting to see little animals. I thought Grandma was losing her mind and asked sis if Grandma could recognize her. She said Grandma’s memories were still intact.
Here is an excerpt from “Crossing the Creek by Michael Holmes, R.N,” which explains the illusions experienced during the dying process.
It is important to understand moving about in time/space, and thus being somewhat confused, is a natural and normal aspect of the dying process. Example: A dying man lies sleeping. He is actively dreaming and reliving (as if he were really there) an experience that occurred in 1930. He is reliving an interaction he had with his mother when he was only six years of age. Then suddenly, he awakens to see his forty-five-year-old daughter standing at his bedside.
Do you see how this could be confusing? To be six years old and talking to your mother one instant, then seventy-four years old, and talking to your middle-aged daughter, the next instant is a very disconcerting and disorienting experience. This is what it is like to be dying; drifting in and out of asleep/dream state and wakefulness, not always sure which is which, and moving about in time/space as though we had simply pulled up anchor. We say that the dying are “disoriented” and strictly speaking, I suppose that is accurate. They are experiencing something innately disorienting, and they are disoriented…quite naturally. That does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with them; e.g., suffering from too little oxygen or too much medication. Dying is naturally confusing, so it is quite natural to be confused while dying.
Grandma is not losing her mind. She is just experiencing what many have, and many will experience in their dying stages. In his book, Holmes also says that grieving is essential and even a must. Holmes listed different stages people go through during their grieving process.
I think I’m at the shock, sadness, confusion, and mostly fear states Holmes writes about. I want to be strong. But, I fear. I fear to lose my Grandma. She has been such a rock in my life. I fear I will not be able to give her a last hug and tell her in person that I love her. I’m confused as to why cancer chose to torment her. Truly sad Grandpa won’t have his companion any longer. I’m shocked; she only has a few days left. During my uncertainty, I want to trust God will provide strength in my weakness.
That He will give peace to Grandpa and the rest of my family.
That He will keep Grandma comfortable in her last days.
He will give me the will to accept that she is living her last days.
That we are all living our last days.
That tomorrow is never promised to any of us.
That He will welcome us into heaven after our last day on Earth.
“Heaven is near.” – My Grandma on Saturday, May 23, 2020 (the last day we spoke).