Yesterday at a little past four o’clock, my father called me at work on my cell phone, telling me that my grandmother (his mother) collapsed while visiting my Uncle Richard up in Contra Costa county. Because Uncle Richard left a brief and terse message on my dad’s cell phone, he did not impart the important details, such as.. which hospital she would be admitted to and if he knew what had caused my grandmother to collapse. As I was at the computer at my workstation, I used what resources I had to look up the area hospitals to give him a chance to call around and see which one she’d been taken to.
That was the last time I had spoken to him, figuring that since I failed in finding her, that he had succeeded and further, that he was busy in trying to find his way over to the hospital so he could be there for her. In between all that time, I was feeling a rather high degree of anxiety, and hoping that it was not as bad as I was thinking it might be. She’s eighty-nine years old, and she tends to live in direct contravention to the typical rules of being old. She still drinks, and she even had a boyfriend up until a year ago, if I recall my information correctly. By the time seven rolled around, I figured it was time to give my father a call and ask what the status was.
The first thing he told me was that the doctors said she would not survive the night. She had suffered from a heart attack, and did in fact die. The paramedics on the scene revived her in the ambulance, I guess, and then when they arrived, she died once more. There was another successful attempt at reviving her, and then they put her on life support for the night. At this point, however, she had already experienced a severe lack of oxygen to the brain and was subsequently declared brain-dead. The decision was made then and there to continue to provide life support until all of the children had had their chance to say goodbye. Calls went out to my aunts and uncles, and they all drove in as soon as they could to say their goodbyes and then pull the plug. I offered to drive up to the hospital after my shift was over, but they asked me to just hang back and pray, instead. It turns out that none of the grandchildren were really wanted up there, as since there were nine kids, and twice as many grandchildren, the great grandchildren and in some cases the great great grandchildren would number in the hundreds, easily. Swarming the hospital with all the Garcias and the Juarezes would be akin to the invasion of a small city. The worst kind of family reunion ever. The story goes that had I been there to say goodbye, I would be antagonizing all the other grandkids who were within driving range and were not notified. I didn’t ask for drama, but I understood the logic of the request. I mean, my cousins are not known for their rationale to any degree. And I did not want any action to be perceived as such, either. There’s enough internal spats and grudges to last a few lifetimes. Hell, out of the nine original kids, three don’t talk to each other at all, and haven’t for over a decade. I certainly didn’t need to start my own private little war. Anyway, I asked my dad if he would give me a call when then pulled the plug, and I hung up with him.
I stayed up as long as I could, finding myself unable to really sleep until I heard, but eventually my body resolved itself to sleep shortly after two in the morning, and so I woke up to my alarm clock blaring away at nine, getting seven hours of not-so-deep sleep. I was scheduled to come in tonight at four, to cover for a co-worker who had just had his wisdom teeth pulled. I have never had the experience of having my wisdom teeth pulled, so I can only imagine that it’s a pretty painful process and the result is being drugged off your ass for a few days following. I went in to work at around three thirty, to catch up on any mail or problems that might have been in progress since I left last night. Then at about four-thirty, my dad called to tell me that my grandmother had indeed passed on. Everyone was there now, all of them were making phone calls and letting the other members of the family know. So it’s finally done, now. I guess all I can do is just stand by and wait for the funeral arrangements to be announced, and hope that I can make it up there to pay my respects.