pearwaldorf: shepard and garrus on menae (me - s&g menae)
[personal profile] pearwaldorf
Content notes: cancer, family illness/death

My grandma is in the late stages of terminal liver cancer. I came down to see her last month and she was still walking around and eating. For various reasons I didn't get down here until today, and she is not looking good. She's terribly jaundiced and her arms are so thin. The doctor, who is also a family friend, came yesterday and said she's not in pain at least. He says liver cancer usually has more complications. My aunt says this is because my grandma has been such a good person all her life and this is where it all pays off. I'm not sure I want to equate a person's quality of life in their last days to their morality, but I'm not inclined to argue this if it makes my family feel better.

She's still lucid, which is a blessing. She seemed very happy to see me, and I am glad about that. She gets tired very easily, and I was only able to stay for a couple minutes at a time. Finally Mom and I had to leave because she won't sleep if there's company.

One of my lifelong regrets is that I never stuck with Chinese of any sort and I can't talk to her now. I was walking my aunt and uncle's dog earlier and it occurred to me he probably understands more Cantonese than I do. It's not like I can't write her a note or have someone translate, but this is one of those horrible gaping wounds that is probably going to hurt forever.

Communication issues aside, how the fuck does one even begin to deal with the imminent death of a family member, especially one who’s pretty much raised you from birth? My aunt, uncle, and my parents ran a restaurant together, and they worked incredibly long hours. Grandma was the one who minded us after school, did our laundry, cooked our food. I’m sure we were terrible, because children will be at one time or another, but she took it in stride. I’m also sure in the way of accepting that’s how things just are, we took her for granted when we were younger. I hope in the years since we have properly expressed how grateful we are and how much we cannot repay.

She has always been a fiercely independent person, and up until a couple days ago she was still insisting on trying to walk on her own. I suppose that’s the sort of steel you acquire from fighting Communist soldiers for your sewing machine so you can make money to feed your three daughters. (My mom also swam from the mainland to Hong Kong before eventually making it to America. I come from a long line of badass women I could not even begin to hope to compare to.) One of the reasons I want to learn how to sew is because of her.

I’m concerned for my aunts and my mom. I haven’t seen my other aunt (she’s the oldest), but I know she’s been by. My aunt is Grandma’s primary caretaker, and I have never seen her so frazzled. I don’t think she’s gotten a good night’s sleep since Grandma was diagnosed last month. She and Mom keep exchanging grave updates on Grandma’s condition, like anything has changed in the past two hours since they talked. Also I got told at least six times in the past two days to not drive down. By both of them. They just keep circling things they think they can control, and it really fucks me up.

I'm so tired and sad. 

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-27 02:17 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
I'm so sorry. Your grandmother sounds like a remarkable woman, and I'm glad you're able to spend time with her right now.