November 19, 2011 (5:25 pm)
I was driving down the highway twenty minutes from my destination, unsure what to do once I arrived there.
I had seen dying before, but never death itself.
It had been nearly twenty years since, as a boy, I made a choice that haunted me for the rest of my life; I was committed to not making the same mistake as an adult. I would be respectful, loving and understanding; at least I hoped to be.
But what would I say? Should I say good-bye? Thank you?
It was happening too soon. She was supposed to have made it past Christmas, let alone Thanksgiving. Earlier that morning, they expected her to be in the hospital for one week, followed by a discharge to home with some assistance. Now, 8 hours later, I was speeding down the highway, trying to get there in time.
In time? In time for who? Me, I suppose.
Wait, it wasn’t about me, it was about her. And my grandfather, who was about to lose his wife of 60 years. And my mother who was going to lose her best friend. But mostly it was about my grandmother, a beautiful and wonderful person…an angel (if you believe in such things, which she did).
Twenty-three minutes later I walked into her room, still not knowing what to say. Her lips were purple, her skin gray.
Without thinking, I walked to her bedside, held her hand in mine, kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear, ” I love you.”