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When I was five years old, my Grandma Betty died. She was my great-grandma, and she always had a smile on her face. I knew that she had a lot of medical problems and she couldn’t walk, but I had no idea she’d actually die the third time she went to the hospital. I remember that day, when the phone rang and my mom’s face changed from a smile to a slight from, hanging up the phone slower than usual. She didn’t seem too concerned, but she told me that Grandma Betty wanted to see me and tell me something. So we got into the car and I guess my mom decided to get me some McDonald’s chicken nuggets before driving to the hospital. It didn’t take too long to get the fast food—after all, that’s why it’s called fast food. I wasn’t too concerned about what was happening, or at least what I thought was happening.
So when we arrived at the hospital (I do not remember the name at the moment), we checked in and my mom was talking to some elderly lady at the front desk. However, after that we still didn’t go directly to see my Grandma Betty. I wanted to see her, but I knew that my mom thought that it wasn’t a big deal to go in a hurry (at least that’s what I thought that particular time, as it happened numerous times before when Grandma Betty had to go to the hospital) to see her, and so I felt the same way. My mom used a payphone in the hospital and called my Grandma Pat, who was her mom and Grandma Betty’s daughter, and told her that she’d better come down and see her.
As I entered Grandma Betty’s hospital room I noticed her eyes were shut, but not too tightly. I was confused because I thought she said that she wanted to see me and talk to me, and usually when we came to visit her—usually everyday at the Anchorage of Beecher—she wouldn’t be sleeping. She’d always have her eyes wide open in bed, waiting for me to hug and kiss her. I used to love to ask her if she’d take out her false teeth and pretend it talked out of her mouth. It would make me giggle uncontrollably every time. Yet she still remained in her “hospital” bed and her eyes remained shut. I was a bit let down that she was sleeping. I wanted to give her a big kiss and hug, but I didn’t want to disturb her. I would simply wait until she awoke.
When Grandma Pat arrived to see Grandma Betty, a nurse preceded her into the room. She was a young woman with dark hair—I remember that—and she had on a white uniform with little decorations imprinted all over, like most doctors and nurses would wear. She told me that Grandma Betty wanted to see me and tell me something. I perked up a bit but I still didn’t want to disturb her from her sound sleep. She looked so peaceful. Not entirely at peace, but for the most part she looked peaceful. I stood up on a stool at the side of her “hospital” bed and as the nurse called to her, “Betty? Betty, your great-granddaughter is here to see you. You have something to tell her? Wake up, Betty,” she still did not make any noticeable movement, “Betty? Betty?” The nurse continually called her name like she was answering the phone with no one at the other end. I called to her, “Grandma? Grandma, it’s me, Kellie. I’m here. Did you want to tell me something? Grandma Betty? It’s Kellie.” I thought for a second I saw her lips curve slightly upward. She looked so lovely. I remember looking down at her from the stool I stood on. She looked soft and unresponsive, but still alive. And she was still alive; the heart meter told us so. The nurse told me that Grandma Betty could hear me, but she couldn’t talk. I was shocked to hear that. I thought: That’s not fair. Why can’t she tell me what she wanted me to hear? Why couldn’t she just open her eyes if she wasn’t sleeping? Why can’t she talk to me? What’s wrong? I didn’t know what to make of it. I was so confused. I didn’t talk to her much after that, but I figured it was of no use if she couldn’t tell me that she could hear me. I mean, for all I knew the adults could be lying. I wasn’t sure if I bought it entirely, but I knew she was at least still alive. The heart meter kept beeping, though slow.
The nurse talked to my Grandma Pat and mom, and then sent for a priest. My mom said that we were going to pray for Grandma Betty. I was a bit upset, because she was still alive, I knew so. But the priest kept started on with the prayer, which now I understand as extreme unction, and he held a little brown bible in his hands. Grandma Pat was holding my mom’s hand as we prayed. I held my mom’s hand, too. I felt so passive about it all, and I felt that there was nothing I could do. The second the priest finished dictating the word “Amen,” there was a silence joined by a long straight beep. My mom and Grandma Pat began to cry and hug. I couldn’t understand why she left me before seeing me. I thought: Didn’t she want to see me? I didn’t want to cry so I only watered my eyes. I would be strong. Grandma Betty was finally at peace, but I knew that I was not. I was upset with the priest for making her die. I didn’t realize that she was holding on for the last rite before going. Now I do understand, but still today it hurts. I still miss her badly, and I still wonder what she wanted to tell me.


------
Kellie Lachata


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Comments

The following comments are for "Why Her Eyes Were Closed"
by ducktape

wow...
wow, i would wonder what she wanted to tell me too. Im not going to say sorry for your lose, because well i dont know you, and i dont really feel sorry, shes in a better place, hey maybe shes alive somewhere else(if you believe in that...because i do) anyway, i liked this piece very personal:) i dont think i would be able to right a personal piece so keep it up.

( Posted by: starmaiden [Member] On: September 28, 2005 )





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