The past 48 hours have felt like weeks. Hospital time is different than normal, linear time especially when death is the guest you fear and welcome at the same time.
I am the youngest child in my family. For years, I have railed against being the 'baby'. Being a successful physical therapist, wife, and mother did not shift my role. But this week, I became the adult responsible for making one of the most difficult decisions one can make. I became my grandmother's health care proxy.
I made the final decision to remove the ventilator, the IV and antibiotic treatment, the feeding tube, and had her moved into hospice care.
I had the same conversation with my parents, sister, cousins: there was no miracle waiting for 'mama Essie'. Her lungs won't sustain her for long without artificial support. At over 100, she doesn't have the reserve or the stamina to recover from severe pneumonia. To keep her sedated and on life support is to keep her in a zombie-life, a non-life.
No one knows what she would have wanted; this wasn't an issue anyone in my family felt comfortable talking about. And no one else has the comfort with the medical world that I do. So it fell to me to navigate all of us on the road few of us travel willingly.
I am home now. My grandmother is resting comfortably in the hospice where they take care of her and the rest of my family, physically and spiritually. I know the call will come soon--maybe even within a day or two and I will return to lay her to rest.
I have already said goodbye, opened the windows to the night, whispered to the angel, 'yes, she is the one, her name is on your lips.' He is still waiting there, and his eyes are filled with tenderness.