Yesterday my girlfriend posted a letter to her grandmother on facebook. Her grandma doesn't use facebook but Kirsti needed someone to share with as she sat by her grandmother's side in the hospice. The ugliest thing about brain cancer is that it steals the mind first. The ugliest thing about cancer is that Kirsti's grandma has spent most of her life fighting to live- four relapses of breast cancer. Tonight Kirsti is praying alot because she believes this may be her best friend's last.
You may not believe in the God that I cling to in my dark moments but I am certain that we can negotiate a heaven and hell that we both believe in. I am terrified of the liminal space between life and death. I cannot wrap my mind around this degree of suffering. That someone who has truly fought to live must still drift apart, mind from body, and ugly pain in both directions. I don't know how to understand what her eyes might see now, or what she might hear as her family gathers to pray. Or if my own uncle knew that we prayed for him. What does it feel like in that space? To know that death is seeping in, that it will hurt, and that there is nothing left that can be done? Purgatory. A medical and spiritual reality. Heaven then, for you, may simply be the peace of death. My heaven entails a spiritual fulfilment because I need to believe that even suffering comes to fruition. But we agree on the peace of death.
So please tonight, as I pray to my God, pray too for a heaven. Pray that after the pumping and surging the hum of silence is beautiful. Pray for Kirsti's grandma.
Dear Grandma, I am sitting here with you beside your bed, and there is so much I wish I could tell you. As you lay sleeping I think of all the
adventures we've had together, the laughter we've shared, and the lessons you have taught me. I think about what its going to be like when you are in heaven watching down on us. I want to tell you how much I am going to miss you, how much I love you, and how much you have inspired me. But I feel that words are not enough. I know me going to school was always so important to you, so I want to make sure you know that I am going to finish school, and I will try my hardest to get the best marks I can. I will live every day in a way that would make you proud. I will be a role model for my sister and cousins, making sure to be there for them as you have been there for me. Whenever life throws an obstacle at me I will think about you and how strong and brave you were.Truth be told grandma, I don't know what to expect when you're gone to heaven. I just can't imagine my life without you in it. I wish I knew how to tell you how much I will miss you, and how much I love you; but I know you don't like to see me sad, so I've wrote you this letter instead. I know that there isn't much time left, and that soon you will be with God, but I am not going to say good-bye. Because I know that you will always be in my heart and in the hearts of all of those who's lives you have touched; I know that you will always be watching over us.
I love you Grandma, you will always be in my heart.