Somewhere, the Fates were snickering behind their hands.
Monday afternoon, I wrote poetry with my friends at Sappho’s Circle. Just as I was preparing to drive home, I got a call from B. He was at the hospital, waiting while his mother, known here as Grandma, was in the heart catheterization lab. She had had a heart attack.
I was not far from the hospital and got there as quickly as I could to wait with him.
The cardiologist was able to remove the blood clot that had caused the heart attack; there was no need for a stent. The nurses got her settled into the cardiac intensive care unit and we were able to spend several hours in her room, as she gradually woke from the sedation and B and I answered dozens of medical history questions on Grandma’s behalf.
We left the hospital at about 8:00 PM, with Grandma stable and resting under the watchful eyes of the ICU staff. We all expected a few days in the hospital, maybe a short stay in rehab, and then back to her cottage at her senior living community.
We didn’t sleep well. At 6 AM, B’s cell phone rang. Grandma’s blood pressure had dropped, but they had been able to raise it back to an acceptable level. Then, she became short of breath, but it was difficult to address it. They might need to put in a breathing tube as a short term measure. We dressed and headed to the hospital. It turned out that, as we were en route, Grandma’s heart had stopped.
We waited near the nurses’ station as they continued efforts to revive her, but they were not able to.
Less than 24 hours after her heart attack, Grandma had died.
There just isn’t any other word for what we have all been feeling since that moment. Everyone that we have had to tell, everyone who has spoken to us, we are all in shock. “But I just saw her at the movie on Friday.” “But she was here Monday morning, after her PT session.” “But she was at dinner with her friends on Saturday.” No one quite seems to be able to wrap their brains around the fact that death can be so quick.
Everyone is grateful that there was not a long period of pain and suffering. It was one of the things that Grandma had feared the most. She loved her cottage in the retirement village and did not want to leave it to live in the Health Center. We are grateful that she did not have to do that.
But we are still in shock.
And we are sad.
B and I have been doing our best to talk to people and deal with paperwork and start sorting and make lists and not miss anything that is important to do.
It’s been less than 72 hours at this point, but it feels so much longer. I have to remind myself what day it is.
And that it is Holy Week for most Christians, including my denomination.
As I write this, it is very early on Good Friday morning.
I had tried to sleep, but couldn’t, so I got up to write this.
Before I go to bed, I want to go to the website for my friend Angie’s memorial fund. It has been eleven years since she died. In 2005, March 25th was also Good Friday.
I don’t quite understand why I am not crying.
It must be the shock.