Wrinkles by Amy Rae

Death on a Table

Posted on: August 26, 2009

In a week, my beloved grandmother is lying down to undergo her third major surgery in six months.  Her hip is being replaced, bone fragments reconstructed, artificial life restored.  But no matter the outcome, she is dying.  Her strength will be spent learning to walk, to stand, to sit up in bed – but still, my mother will come to empty her bedpan, to wipe up her messes, to clean her face at night.

My grandmother’s eyes, which always foretold the future for me, which always could see that “this, too, shall pass” – these eyes can barely see forms in the light, cannot see me standing in front of her, cannot discern my child’s face.  The smiles of her grandchildren are frozen in memories now five years past.

Her passing will mark the death of my extended family.  No longer do we gather at Christmas or other holidays, but still do we enact the portrait of camaraderie, still do we pretend through frozen smiles.

When my grandmother dies, so dies the strength of my life, the force that shaped me, whose criticisms burned and whose love enveloped.  I hope she knows how much she has meant to me.

In a week, my father will lie down to be cut from the base of his throat to his groin as the doctors reach in to re-route his veins.  When he dies, I will finally know whether or not he ever meant anything to me.  Hopefully, I will know soon.

With death, comes hope, and with hope, life.  

I hope to live this life so that people I love never doubt, never question, and always know.


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