She did not get better. In fact, her small 87-year-old body had put up a very good fight, considering the severity of the accident. But after two weeks of
surgeries and pain and begging for it to be over, she finally got them to take out her breathing tube.
By the end she couldn't even talk, although she could type out messages to my mom and her brothers. The messages ranged from "I don't want to live like
this," to "Give me control," to "SHOOT ME." She was a strong, dignified lady, and she never wanted to be a burden on anyone.
I drove an hour to the hospital, speeding all the way. Once they remove that tube, apparently the end can come at any time. My CD player is broken,
leaving me only with the radio, and even though I had listened to "Call Me Maybe" at least three times on the drive down, instead of sprinting inside, I
sat in my car long after I had parked in the hospital's massive structure to allow Carly Rae Jepsen to finish. And then I sat some more, watching a cat dart under
The walk up to the front doors was pretty okay, and hugging my mom in the lobby felt fine, but once we got in that elevator, man. I wanted to pry open the
doors and run out of there.
"She's not in any pain," my mom said. She had the tone of a woman talking to a small child, and I was totally fine with that. She held my hand as we walked
into her room and there she was. My grandmother was named Lenora. She was an accountant, and later a teacher, and she could play piano and tap dance. She
had a big funny laugh and was a genuinely kind person, and now she was in hospital bed; tiny and crumpled and connected to a million machines, all beeping.
I was already crying, but it was soft and delicate and ladylike until a nurse came over and asked, "Are you close with your grandmother?" Because, no. I'm
not. We're just not that kind of family.
The nurse, whose name I've already forgotten, was one of those people who is warm and instantly feels like home. She gave me a big hug and led me over
to the bed.
"She's not in any pain," she told me in that same tone my mom used. "You can hold her hand and talk to her." She put my hand in hers. It was surprisingly
warm, and I just stood there and sobbed, feeling so sorry for every email forward she had sent me that I hadn't replied to, for my surly teen years, for
stealing a bracelet from Claire's when I was 13 that she couldn't possibly know about. She was a good, good, good person; and I stood there with her
warm hand, feeling sorry for being so inferior.
My mom came and stood next to me at some point, I don't remember how long it had been. She leaned over the bed to my grandmother's ear and said, "MOM.
ALISON IS HERE."
"Honey, she's hard of hearing."
Now, I truly do believe that people in her state can hear you. But as loud as my mom was shouting, everyone on that floor could hear.