Learning To Love You More




Assignment #31
Spend time with a dying person.

Shannon H.
Chicago, Illinois USA



My grandmother wasn't a woman to express emotion directly, she usually did it through food. Instead of getting hugs from my grandma, comfort came in the form of macaroni and cheese, encouragement in the form of chocolate, and love was a pot roast. Once she stopped being able to leave the house, she would send one of us on an errand to buy food for another person in the family. A sort of love through proxy.
Food was also how she received comfort and love from others. When the doctors told us she couldn't eat sugars any more she said, 'Bring me a Chocolate Cake, Damn It! Ill die, but Ill die happy, and you can write on my grave, "SHE LIKED TO EAT."
As she was dying there were stretches of days when she couldn't talk because of all the tubes inside her. I would come and tell her about my lir3. I rarely saw a reaction on her face. But when I told her I had broke my strict vegetarianism to eat my mom's cornbeef, a smile spread across her face. Of course! If she could talk, she would be asking me what I ate that day. So I began giving her detailed descriptions whenever she couldn't talk.
She was a very large woman, as you probably have already imagined. Sometimes when we took her to the hospital we had to call the fire department to help us get her out.
But when she was dying she seemed so incredibly small.
I remember her holding our hands and telling us not to let go. It is possibly the only time my grandmother expressed an emotional thought to me using her words. That made me scared. But I also felt lucky to be with her in that moment it was like I was seeing a secret grandma underneath the one I had known. If she had been able to eat, I would have made her mac and cheese.
When she finally died I cried a lot. And then I went out to tell my mother, who stoically said, 'I think we should go get dinner now.' I was happy and sad to see my grandma in my mom, a sort of left over curse and blessing from one who had left us.