END OF LIFE CARE

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It was standing room only at Grandma's place, apart from a few chairs, sofas and kitchen stools. Even in the spaces between people and furniture, I felt the claustrophobia worse. An expectant quietude had descended in the final three days, and still they came, one after the other.


“You don't know me, but your Mother was a great friend to me...”


“I'm a friend of your Mother's...I booked a flight as soon as I heard.”


My Father was perplexed, wholly beside himself, preparing for the inevitable loss of his last remaining parent. He hadn't met most of the people who came to pay their respects, and couldn't work out how they knew to visit at home, particularly since they didn't seem to know each other.


Grandma was determined not to end her days in the hospice, so her Son relented, cast aside his misgivings, and let it be. She was formidable, to her last breath, and though she was feared as a lioness by those who knew her not, she had but the soft heart of a lion cub for loved ones.


“When I was your age, all the people you have seen at my bedside, started to visit me in spirit. They would gather around, all warm smiles and loving in their eyes, to leave gifts of gratitude for me. Only when I was older, did I realise these people were from my future, but I couldn't determine what could possibly deserve such praise. It overwhelmed me when I felt helpless, and I felt unequal to whatever may be required. I thought myself undeserving, to be thanked for something I hadn't done yet, and may not do. They were so sure of me. And yet, I couldn't remember individual faces, because they always came as part of a group. I didn't see prophecies about the future, theirs or mine, so it made no sense. It's only now I see them clearly, gathering around me, these were the ones I didn't recognise.”


I was five years old at the time, too young to understand the last story Grandma told me, but my Father liked to retell it. She hadn't been able to speak in over a month, but her eyes sparkled with life, as they always had and you could feel the love from her heart touch you, as she left her body.


It's the little things that can hold your memories with such intensity and aching beauty. We think we have to do something big to help someone else, but the legacy Grandma left us was to acknowledge this. The tiniest particle, of love in action, has the strength of a whole universe in it.


*This story's been wanting to write itself, and I was close to tears but I got it done <3

Created: Jun 24, 2017

Tags: story, fiction, short story, love, beingpaloma, end of life care, legacy, i believe in little things

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