On November 27, 2008, Thanksgiving Day, we were eating lunch at my dad’s side of the family when we got the call that my grandma’s oxygen level went down to seventy-three percent. The emotion that ran over all our faces was of horror yet joy. She had been suffering for three months with ALS and it was taking over her nerves one by one and was also diminishing her pride. I cannot begin to explain the feeling of fear that you might not to say I love you and good bye for the last time. We all knew she did not want to suffer anymore. She wanted to go to a place where she could live in peace for eternity. But having to let go of one of the people that you love, look up to, and worship more than anything in the world, because she was the most caring person I had ever meet, is the hardest thing that I personally have ever had to do. She would always get mad when people tried to do anything for her but she always was wanted to help everyone out all the time and she always put others before her. That is why I believe in a grandma’s love.
I cannot explain how great a person she was and sitting there at the foot of the bed, with three Kleenexes in my hand, watching this amazing person struggle for every breath but still holding on, because she wanted to make sure that we would all take care of each other. As I sat in that same position at the end of the bed the memory of laying on my belly across that brown recliner in the family room, that she loved so much, while grandma would scratch my back with her veined soft hands and long thin nails. This is the kind of memory that shows me how much my grandma had love for us because no matter what she was doing she always had time to scratch our backs. I also believe that you should say good-bye like it’s the last time because so badly as I was sitting there watching her die did I want to ask her for the last loving back scratch but deep down I knew that I had already missed my chance.
That day was a day of mixed feelings, anger because you did not want to let her go, joy because you knew she was tired of suffering and confusion because you could not figure out how this could happen to such a great person. One thing that I had figure out was no matter how much you do not want to, you should cherish everything like it’s the last time because it might be.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.