Life and death

When Geoff’s grandma calls me, I never answer the phone.

No, wait, it’s not what you think. I love Geoff’s grandma. For simplicity, let’s call her Grandma. Grandma is everything that my Bubbie wasn’t. She’s loving, kind, friendly, funny. She’s delightful. I’ve felt close to her since Geoff and I started dating. Honestly, she inspires me with the way that she loves her kids, grandkids, even her husband. She’s a great role model, and I’ve told her so.

But something about her scares me.

Grandma is pushing ninety. She’s been in good but not perfect health for the last ten years or so. About seven years ago, Grandma and Grandpop were in a car accident that left them each with various ailments. Still, they hang in there, and they are always, without fail, happy to hear from us and ready to welcome us for a visit. They both adore the kids. Grandma still gets down on the floor to play with them.

A couple of years ago I started shutting her out.

We were at her house for a visit, and Grandma started to feel dizzy. She went up to her bedroom to lie down and a little while later she called me upstairs. Me, not Geoff, not Grandpa, not even her own grown daughter. I found her lying on the bed next to her blood pressure machine. Her blood pressure was too high, she told me. She didn’t want to go to the hospital, and she asked me to stay with her. I sat on the edge of her bed, held her hand, and put my other hand on her shoulder. We took deep breaths together.

I was scared.

I told her that she would be alright, and after about half an hour her blood pressure returned to normal. The next day she paid a visit to the doctor. She made a quick recovery and the rest of our visit was just fine. You’d never have known anything had happened.

But I did.

When I was sitting with Grandma up in her room, I had the strangest feeling. With my hands on her and us breathing together, I felt like I was giving her some kind of a transfusion. A life transfusion. I could feel the energy passing between us, even though I didn’t understand it. In the moment, I could only think in dichotomies. If I was giving her life, then she must be giving me death in return. I didn’t want death. I still don’t.

From then on, things were different between us.

When she calls, I don’t answer. I tell Geoff to call her back. I still love her, and we visit. The kids send her artwork. Still, I’ve been stingy with her. I haven’t let her hear my voice, I haven’t given her any more life. I’ve closed myself, as if life were a special gift of mine and death a curse of hers, rather than both being realities that we share.

I’ve been wrong.

I hope that I can find the courage to be open with her again. I hope that I can do the small things that she requests as she gets closer to the end of her life. I hope that she will trust me to help her.

10 thoughts on “Life and death

  1. You have healing ability. Some people do. You just don’t understand it. You are not getting back death. You are giving comfort. I have known several people with who can heal and comfort and I have a touch too. It’s a good thing, not bad.

  2. I definitely think that energy can move between people. I know it sounds meshugah, but there is something going on sometimes that just makes me wonder about it.

  3. Okay I’m kinda one of “those” people who practice energy medicine. I have “worked” on people in hospice type of situations. The power of touch alone is an amazing thing. You probably are a bit of a natural healer too and i’m sure that energy helped her. But loving touch can do wonders for anyone. It’s definitely giving energy but your energy won’t suck hers away or come back to you. Your life is yours. Hers is hers. There’s no way you can take it back. Also thinking positive things makes things happen as well. If you wish in your heart to get better while you touch her, it’s possible she will! Dr’s and nurses touch people that are sick all the time, they don’t receive their sick energy, you know? Don’t worry and just love her as much as you have. <3

  4. Very brave of you to admit something most everyone feels at one time or another. I work for Hospice, so I’ve got this dying and death thing down, now, but it used to make me so uncomfortable. I remember when my dad was dying insisting that there was no way I could be in the room when we turned off life support. But when the moment came, I was, and I did fine. You will do fine! Don’t be scared and don’t let yourself lose your grandma way before she is gone!

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