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Salt-and-pepper hair contrasts sharply with the crisp, starched pillow;
bone-thin arms resemble bed rails--
tears in my arms, the morphine drip in your vein.
My inner rage refutes your calm acceptance.

You ask if we are waiting for you to die:  no.
We are waiting for a miracle,
we are waiting for you to heal--

We are waiting for something that will not happen.
We are stretching for something that is out of reach.
We are holding onto our obsolete hopes, the small fragments of our lives
so closely, we cannot see the bigger picture
of eternity.

In a paradox, God is calling you clearly,
but we can't seem to hear His voice--
only the silence ringing in our ears
as the monitor stops
your breathing ceases
your face un-creases--
and, for the first time in years,
you run Home.
I have always been close to my paternal grandmother, ever since I was a child. When I was in elementary school, the dementia began to set in. It robbed her of her clarity and, eventually, her dignity. My strong, independent grandmother was moved to an assisted-living facility, because she became unable to take care of herself without help. Despite crippling arthritis and the encroaching memory loss, Grandma held her own from that point on, even if she needed a little bit of help.

The spring of the year in which I was fourteen, my grandmother took a turn for the worse. She contracted an internal infection and landed in the hospital. Her heart was very weak, she struggled to breathe, she was immobile, and she was in unimaginable pain. Her morphine drip was near-constant, and even then, she was unconscious most of the time.

After several weeks, she was moved to hospice care. I played hooky from school to care for her while my parents met with the hospice workers; I shifted her on the hour to prevent bedsores, I rubbed her frail hands to warm them, I kept an eye on the heart monitor, I adjusted the cannula that fed her oxygen when it slipped over her papery skin. At that point, we knew she was dying. It was only a question of when and how we could make her most comfortable in the interim.

She was skeletally thin by this time, and it made her look unbelievably frail. Her skin sheared and tore when she moved too much. At the site of the IV, florid bruises bloomed like wilted flowers. She had stopped eating and drinking the day before and the dehydration was already taking its toll. Ever few minutes, I would wet her lips to keep them from cracking, she was so dry. As hazy as things must have been for her, she knew she what was coming.

The night before I resumed classes, I spent hours in her room, just sitting at her bedside, holding her hand. At some point I started crying. She was unconscious, or so I thought; her state was transient, and you could never be sure of how much she perceived of what happened around her. And as I stroked her forehead, her eyes opened, and she spoke for the first time since I had arrived. Every breath costing her, she begged me not to cry, and that's all she managed before she again lost consciousness. Disregarding entirely the strict policy, I removed my surgical mask, bent to kiss her cheek, and crawled into her bed to hold her. She weighed no more than a child in my arms. And that's when I finally accepted the inevitable.

I left that night with a promise to return after school the next day. I never spoke to her again. The following evening, the phone rang, and I picked it up without thinking first. She was gone. My father had stepped out into the hallway to have a word with the attending and she had slipped away in those few seconds. She was alone when she died. I still wonder if she was aware of this, if she was scared. And I still can't forgive myself for leaving her.

I had a ridiculous homework load that night, but not much was accomplished, needless to say. A few minutes after I had hung up, I sat down at the computer to continue composing my final essay for a class and just lost it. Any shaky grip I'd had on my grief just dissolved. I was a wreck. I cried so long and hard that I felt sick to my stomach. With everything else that was going on in eighth grade, I hadn't eaten in four days. I was fairly certain that the cavern yawning deep in my abdomen was no longer mere hunger. Food couldn't fill that emptiness. Nothing could. I had entirely lost my appetite. I wouldn't eat for another 48 hours. It didn't even register at that point.

The formerly paramount importance of schoolwork seemed laughable now. I had bigger things to worry about. I never did finish that crucial essay. Instead, I stayed up until 3 a.m. composing this before crawling into bed and crying myself to sleep.

This was written several years ago, so I apologize in advance for the fact that it's not my best work. I've matured a lot in my writing since then.

I hadn't thought of this in ages. A dear friend of mine lost her grandmother, with whom she was extremely close, this past weekend. And it felt like losing Grandma all over again. I wanted to post this not only for her but also for anyone else who has been in this situation before.

I want to say this: I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it never really does hurt less, that hole in your life. It never fills in. You just learn to dance around it. And sometimes, you will stumble, and you will slip, and it will snag you and you will fall. But you will climb your way to the surface every time, and the pain will dull, and you will make it through. I promise.

Please do not use without my permission.
Comments are welcome and greatly appreciated. Any feedback is great to hear. What can I do better?

EDIT: I've been featured here:
Random features XXVI
Fantastic Feature Tuesday #26
VinceJay Presents : 'Feature Weekly' II
December Lit DD Round Up
2 years and counting! + the fandom spectrum
Daily Deviations Weekly Highlights VI

Thank you so much!! :heart:

EDIT:  I'm still in shock over the DD -- special thanks to the generosity of SilverInkblot and IrrevocableFate!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-12-16
Cathie by violetense creates some great images and the repetition resonates beautifully. ( Suggested by SilverInkblot and Featured by HugQueen )
:iconohbeautifuldelilah:
ohbeautifuldelilah Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2015  Student Writer
I think this is really beautifully written. It's somehow both straightforward but kind of has a lingering feeling in every line. Although the topic may be painful, I think it would have impacted the poem if there was more imagery or narration. But either way, the words are very genuine and raw which really makes the stanzas stand out. :D
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:iconhopeburnsblue:
hopeburnsblue Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2015  Professional Writer
Omg yay, congrats on the DD!
Reply
:icontommyboywood:
tommyboywood Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Strong, emotional. I've done several similar-themed pieces 
Reply
:iconjackofalltrades0097:
jackofalltrades0097 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
On behalf of the Authors-Club, congrats on your :yey:  Daily Deviation!!! :yey: 
We've featured you on our front page, along with a few other authors who've recently gotten a Literary DD, and wish you the best of luck on your future writings!! Typewriter Emote 
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:iconmrs-durden:
Mrs-Durden Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Your amazing work has been featured here: Daily Deviations Weekly Highlights VI

:heart:
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:iconjigabytess:
JigabytesS Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great poem dude! :D
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:iconmidnighttiger8140:
MidnightTiger8140 Featured By Owner Edited Dec 16, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful poem, absolutely breathtaking. Thank you for sharing this and your story, and congratulations on a well-deserved DD. This is one of the most mature pieces (in terms of the seriousness of the topic and how you handled it in your work) I've seen on DeviantArt. Again, thank you, and I wish you the best.
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:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
I’m very happy for you!!! :iconloveloveplz: :tighthug:
Reply
:iconbrokengod--veins:
brokengod--veins Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This made my heart heavy. Having to lose a paternal father myself (to asthma) took a big blow on me as a kid. The same went for all my other grandparents: a needle and a lifeline on monitor. The feeling is all too familiar, but the pain still lingers. The holes never gets bigger either, but it never shrinks or fills itself because they're an irreplaceable part of us. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for this. You deserve every single hug I can manage to give and I would squeeze you with love if you were standing right next to me reading this beautiful piece. :huggle:
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:icondramaticrabbit:
Dramaticrabbit Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Student
OMG! This is so great! Is it ok if I read this for speak-up, a group every Wednesday telling stories and poems? I can credit you :)
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:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Congrats on the DD! :dalove:
Have a nice day! :love: by CookiemagiK
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:iconblalock27:
blalock27 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Fantastic Clap Clap 
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:iconsilentangelawaits:
silentangelawaits Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Student Artist
I actually can relate to this my grandmother passed away a few years back she had this illness I'm not sure what it was exactly that she had i was 12 when she died im 21 now so its been a few years but still hurts sometimes and my grandfather he has Alzheimer's and his now living in a home he cant look after him self and we felt it was best thing for him when it got bad enough. Though he does not remember me i still try to see him when I'm home its been awhile now actually i should try to see him when i go back home for Christmas because i know id regret it if anything happened and i pray it does not but i know that one day it will. I think though in all honesty what hurts is the not knowing the uncertainty you know? I mean when i know things i can prepare my self the best i can when i don't know how can i prepare for the unexpected when i have no idea what it is or when its coming? anyway even though you wrote this a long time a go i can understand its not easy i do wish i had been allowed to see my grandmother when she was in hospital even if i was young and even though it would have been hard would have felt better if id at least said goodbye to her I regret not begging my mom to let me but it was her mother and i knew it was so hard for her i guess i figured it would be selfish considering how much it must hurt her let alone me. She was probably just trying to protect me from the pain and i can see that now clearly anyway erm keep up the good work and i liked reading ur work because it was so sincere and honest an could feel those thoughts feelings so much that i had to see the story behind this. 
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:icon0hgravity:
0hgravity Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
this balances an edge -- heartbreaking tension. when it finally fell, I felt it deep inside
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:iconhopeburnsblue:
hopeburnsblue Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Professional Writer
Wow. So, so, so very powerful. :tighthug:
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:iconshep4life:
shep4life Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is amazing
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:iconcopper9lives:
copper9lives Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
Sigh. Having been through it — more than once — and having experience the other side of it, as a vet offering death with dignity...you have captured it all with perfect emotional fidelity. The best that we can offer each other, in our pain and grief, is to say that no one is alone in going through this. But the journey...that is as solitary and unique as the individual treading each step.

I wish you love, I wish you solace, I wish you the myriad joys life can offer. Live well...in her honor. :heart:
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:iconteddybearcholla:
teddybearcholla Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Your comment is also beautifully written. :heart:
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:iconcopper9lives:
copper9lives Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you, dearling.
Reply
:iconakkajess:
akkajess Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Student Writer
Hi! Your fantastic work has been featured here:heart:
Reply
:iconsamshadeslayer:
samshadeslayer Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Student Writer
I'm so sorry for your loss, and your friend's loss. This poem really takes the reader through your experience. It's heartbreaking :(
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:iconshineeserendipity:
ShineeSerenDipity Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2013  Student Writer
This is beautiful and so touching, thank you for sharing.
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2013
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DLD (Daily Literature Deviations) and has been selected as our “Pick of the Day”. It is featured in a news article here: dailylitdeviations.deviantart.… and on our main page.

Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconsilverinkblot:
SilverInkblot Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hi there! Just a note to let you know that I've featured this piece in my journal :)
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:icontguillot:
tguillot Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student General Artist
This is an excellent writing.
Reading it made me feel at least a small part of what you felt.
I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother.
Reply
:iconforestmeetwildfire:
forestmeetwildfire Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Your fantastic work has been featured here!
I'd really appreciate it if you could give the other features some love and :+fav: the journal! :heart:
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:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012   Writer
You've hit the two things I'm bad at. Poetry and religion. :lmao: So, please bear with me as I "critique" this.

I find when it comes to poetry, it's worlds easier for me just to tell you what I think about the words that are written and how they made me feel instead of trying to understand some hidden meaning or vernacular. Because that just doesn't happen with me. I don't get that kind of poetry. :ashamed:

Your first stanza drops an awesome visual. The hair against the pillow tells me age while the "starched pillow" gives that hospital feel. I immediately knew this wasn't taking place at "home." The arms resembling bed rails, again, I love the play on the hospital setting.

My inner rage refutes your calm acceptance.

is trumped only by the following line
You ask if we are waiting for you to die: no.


Initially I wanted to reverse those because that first line is SO powerful. It describes both people perfectly and honestly. But the second line holds more emotion to me. Emotion because she's obviously ready to die. She's accepted it and is ready and willing to go. A morphine drip means she's got to be in pain. But of course the people that aren't sick don't want to lose those that are sick. That's a completely different level of pain. So of course we wouldn't be waiting for them to die. We're waiting on that miracle that deep down we know isn't going to happen.

I really like that you dedicated an entire stanza to wanting to hold on to that life. Because it reflects life. We don't like to let og of things. Be it objects, people or memories. We hate giving them up. So it's necessary to dwell on that idea.

Your last stanza is where I get hung up and I'd prefer to refrain from going into a detailed comment because clashing beliefs will only cause controversy. What I will say is that the un-creased line is absolutely amazing. It's a grand way to describe death and yet keep it pleasant.

The only thing I can honestly see as needing improvement is all the "we are"s. I'm going to assume you used the repetition on purpose, but I ended up skipping over them and just reading the "good" parts. A stronger word choice could make that whole area show more emotion.
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:icondamonlsalvatore:
DamonLSalvatore Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It is very unfortunate these situations are not in our control. The truth however, is she knew you were there by her side. The times you weren't are irrelevant now. That is more than many people can say, those who treated members of family like trash until it was too late and look back with lifetimes of regret. They suffer due to their own foolishness.

She knew you cared. You showed it.
Life may get in the way, but being there when it matters..
That is all any of us can ever do.
Reply
:iconkalamarizoo:
kalamarizoo Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012   Writer
Very lovely piece. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Reply
:iconoddestchild:
OddestChild Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Student General Artist
Oh, Rebekah. I had no idea you lost your Grandmother and that you were so close to her. I know it was not very recent that this all happened, but even so you, her, and your family are all in my prayers. Your story about her touched my heart, and I am so so sorry for your loss.
Reply
:iconfyres-descent:
Fyres-Descent Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Reading the last paragraph of this description nearly put me to tears. My grandmother is one of my favorite people, and I thank my lucky stars that she's still with me. I am in eighth grade right now and on occassion will find myself thinking of what would happen to me if anything ever happened to her. I can't even imagine, and I'm sorry about your grandmother. Anyways, thanm you fkr saying that. For putting to words what I have been thinking for so long; that if something happens like that, you don't simply get over it, you have to learn to ljve with that, because it's a part of you. I hate irt when people say that they'ren a better place, becahse they're gone, but acknowledging them by carrying their loss with you, allowing yourself to feel that sometimes, is one of the ony ways to let them kniw that they are loved is to grieve for them. Thank you, again.
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:iconfurythewinged:
FurytheWinged Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012
Thank you bekah
Reply
:iconbark:
Bark Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Professional Writer
Been there, too often. You capture it very well.
Reply
:iconkymira12:
Kymira12 Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Honestly, I don't feel comfortable critiquing this so I'm sorry but I can't. I'm actually caring for my grandmother right now since she is always weak and has heart problems. This really hit home and I would have no idea what I'd do if she was gone. Your poem holds so much emotion and I understood it perfectly before I even read half of your Author's Description (I couldn't read all of it, I kept crying so I stopped). She's the only grandparent I have left. You're right about the fact that losing someone, the pain will never disappear but you do not have to dance around it. You can heal and accept it. The pain will still be there, the memories will still be there, the emotions and connection you have to that person will still be there but the hole will get smaller and you'll be able to live without crying at the mention of their name.

You were really strong for writing this when your pain was still so raw :huggle:
Reply
:iconcardeafletcher:
cardeafletcher Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Student General Artist
Pretty poem, with the bed rail line I thought this would have been about anorexia. However, after reading it all I realised it wasn't about that exactly, just about dying.
This made me cry. :D
Reply
:iconmonalux:
Monalux Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Student Writer
It's a little choppy, but it portrays the images very well. Brings tears to my eyes, so you obviously did a good job. I lost my great grandmother last year. She was one of the few members of my step dad's family who treated me equally despite the fact that I bore no blood relation too her. So yeah...I get it.
Reply
:iconsikizu:
Sikizu Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
...Dang. I only have my mom's parents. My dad's biological dad died when he was five, and grandma re-married a wonderful man. Dad and grandma had a good relationship. Dad was born about 16 years after my aunt Karen was, grandma and grandpa's last planned child. Because dad was quite young considering the rest of his family's age, he was used to having relatives "fall like flies," so he has never been one to cry. The only time I have ever HEARD of him crying out of grief was when his mom died when I was five. He didn't even cry at his own sister's viewing, which was on my birthday. Mom was crying, and I think I was doing a pretty good job at holding back the tears. (You guys are lucky--if my uncles or aunts [the only people still alive in dad's family] call us, it means that something bad has happened and therefore is taken gravely)
So, you could say I have absolutely NO idea what either one of you are going through, even though I know that once my grandad and grandmom die, I am going to be SO depressed. My grandparents are wonderful people, they're really angels. So when they die (considering my grandmom had a bad case of breast cancer), can I call you? XD
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:iconbrandojones:
brandojones Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
I was already sad before reading that... That probably wasn't the best timing...oops.
That's a nice poem though. :hug:
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