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Razii was the one who got me into the furry fandom, though I had already dipped my toes into it quite a few times.

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Latest Journal

Death Isn't the End

on 13 March 2013 at 11:10:21 MDT

Last night, at 8 PM, Grandma Arlene passed away. I don't know the details of it, but I'm sure it was a peaceful passing. She was kept comfortable for weeks while she fought the cancer in her chest. She's no longer suffering, no longer weak. Her soul is strong. I'm sure that wherever she is, she is now healthy and strong, just as she used to be.

Grandma had always been a strong woman. Always laughing and always loving her many grandchildren - and even her great grandchild. She was a lovely woman who accepted everyone, so long as they were kind to her and others. She even accepted - and knew from the beginning - my sexuality and my girlfriend. She embraced it, while others her age would turn up their noses at it. Despite not knowing her, my grandmother told Razii right from the start to call her 'Grandma'. She happily accepted Razii into the family, knowing right from the start that she was making me happy. She was indeed a strong woman, for she had battled cancer before. Breast cancer, right when she was getting a divorce ten to eleven years ago. She took care of five children, one adopted from her sibling. She was always so happy to see them grow, and to see her grandchildren grow. I may have not known her well, but my grandmother was - and still is - a special woman in my eyes. She was one of a kind.

Last Christmas was the last Christmas she would ever have. Though I didn't go see her, I did let her know I loved her by sending my mother away with a bracelet and necklace I made. The bracelet had beads that spelled the words "I love you". She wore both of those proudly, because she knew it was true. We also gave her part of an old tea set from Japan. (In fact, it looked like this) It reminded her of a tea set my many-greats grandfather (can't remember how many greats...) brought over when he became a citizen of the United States. (He was Dutch.) The old tea set she had was lost when a large box fell on top of the one holding all the tea set things, shattering them. She was so delighted to have a part of it, she cried, even though all we gave her was a teapot. (Those items will be returned to me now... I'm not happy they're being returned, but I am relieved I'm the one to receive them. If that makes sense... If it doesn't, then I want to say that I'm not happy about the circumstances that happened to make them return to me, but glad that no one else will have it. It may sound selfish, but somehow, these items are precious to me. It might be because I know my grandma had a set just like it, as did my many-greats grandfather.)

The last time I went up to visit her was a few weekends ago. She was so weak and frail, I could hardly recognize her. But she was my grandma alright. The cancer just did that much damage to her... Despite her state, she was still joking around, touching her bald head, smiling, and saying "Do you like my hair?" She knew she had no hair, but she wanted to continue to joke around and keep things light-hearted. That was on the first day I was there. (I was only there for one full day. We went up on Friday, stayed all day Saturday, and went home Sunday.) The second and third days, she was heavily dosed with medicine to the point where making conversation with her would be difficult... She slept a lot of the time as well. It was hard seeing her slipping away like that, knowing she was going to be away from us soon, but it was also sort of... a relief, in a way. It was sort of a kind of closure, I guess you could say. I knew she wasn't in any pain and she made the effort to make us laugh. She only wanted to hear us laugh, see us smile. Even though she knew it would be the last time she would see us, she wanted that from us.

Another thing that caused me great relief was how Grandpa Rick was taking it. He had been married to her for ten years and was deeply in love with her. He sat down next to me and spoke to me about the documentary he saw with Grandma. He said that it showed him that death wasn't the end, and that Grandma would be the happiest she could ever be once she had passed. He was terribly sad about her going (it was hard for him to fight back tears when I talked to him about Grandma), but he knew she would be better. He told me that he told Grandma, "Hun, if you feel that you need to go, then just go. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine." That alone takes a lot of strength, I know. I feared that Grandpa would be a wreck, that he would be devastated, but he said that he would be fine, that he would meet her one day. He told me that Aunt Wendy helped him as well, letting him know he would always be family. I was surprised with how strong he was, but relieved at the same time that he would be okay.

When we said goodbye to my grandma on the last day up there, she was heavily dosed again. I didn't know if she would even recognize we were leaving. I hugged her and kissed her head and told her I loved her, then left. But as I found out, later on the same day, my mom had gone in and Grandma knew that we had left. So she was aware of it, at least. So I don't feel bad about leaving when she wasn't aware of anything.

From then on, Mom kept me updated with a few things every time we spoke. It wasn't often, but every now and then, she would call or I would call. Grandma was getting worse and worse. Until finally, last night, she passed. I called my mom last night to make sure she was okay. She was crying, I could hear it in her voice, and that choked me up, but she reassured me that she would be fine, that I didn't need to worry about her. She told me that she had family there and she would be fine. She told me she loved me, then we hung up. I was a bit shaken to her my mother crying, knowing how much pain she must be in, but I know she's better off up there right now, with all the members of her family. From the sounds in the background, there were many people there.

So, that's all that's happened. I will always remember the effects of cancer on my dear grandma, but I refuse to remember my grandmother that way. When I think of Grandma Arlene, I will forever think of the strong person who came to my graduation, who surprised me by showing up when it was said she wouldn't and hugged me, who accepted Razii from the get-go. I will remember her as strong and healthy, with a full head of blonde hair and a thin body. I'm sure that's how she would want everyone to remember her, and I will try my best to make sure I do that for her.

I'll be okay. I'm really sad that she's gone. I cried last night about it, and I teared up a few times writing this journal. Okay, so I shed a tear... But I'm also relieved. I'm relieved she's no longer in pain, that she's no longer suffering. I'm relieved she's healthy again and happy. I would want her to be like that, not weak and not able to walk down the hall without someone supporting her. I will see her again someday. Death is surely not the end. My grandma is much too strong for that.

I love you, Grandma. Rest in peace.

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