It is our realization that we are mortal that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. As we grow up we see those around us die. The older we get, the more we are faced with our inevitable demise.
My grandmother is dying. I've know for years that we would reach this day at some point. It doesn't make it any easier, though.
She's had a series of health issues over the last few years - some more serious than others. She had to undergo surgery this past week. The after effects of invasive surgery are not kind to 93-year-olds. She's in the hospital, in pain and fighting off an infection.
I think of the things my grandmother saw throughout the course of her life and it never ceases to amaze me. Today we take the internet, satellite television, cell phones, air conditioning, indoor plumbing and air travel for granted. We sometimes forget that there once was a day when these things didn't exist. My grandmother witnessed World War II. She was around when the Soviets launched Sputnik and when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
My grandmother also got to see all four of her grandchildren grow up. She's had the pleasure of seeing her four great-grandchildren on a regular basis. She's lived a good life.
I received a call from my dad the other day. He wasn't optimistic and suggested I come up to Conroe because he wasn't sure how much longer she'd be around. I cleared my schedule, called my wife and we loaded the girls into the car and drove to the hospital. My grandmother was in pain from the surgery. She was being fed with a tube. Will that be the last time I see her alive? I don't know. Maybe she'll pull herself out of it and maybe she won't.
I love you, Grandmother.
A few hours after I wrote this I got a call from my mother telling me that my grandmother had been transferred from the hospital to a rehab center. Apparently she is, as she likes to say, as mean and ornery as ever.