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The picture feels peaceful and serene to me for some reason I can't tell.
It was "the calm before the storm" sadly.
I can probably relate more than you know. My only grandparent left is now 96 (I'm 36). I fear this was our last Christmas with her as well. The past 6 years, her mental health has deteriorated greatly. She suffers from severe dementia, is not able to care for herself, hallucinates almost every second and no longer knows who any of us are. And while she had a quad bypass 17! years ago, her physical health is finally starting to deteriorate. About 2 months ago, she took a fall and a good bump to the head. Taken to the hospital, and I was the only one there, the doctor spoke with me. After doing scans on her head, he looked at me with a bewildered look in his eyes. He continued to tell me that most of the tissue in her brain had calcified (about 90% I believe he said) and there was a large aneurism deep inside her brain. This aneurism had been there for quite some time from the looks of things. As such, it's just a ticking time bomb. His exact words were, "I don't know how she's still alive. I really don't. She shouldn't be." Whether it, or just the physical stress on the human body not being able to be tolerated anymore, take her from us, it will be a very sad day for me. When I was younger, I spent many a days helping her after my grandfather passed (I was 8 then). Out of the 3 grandchildren and 3 sons she has, aside from my father, I am the only one that has ever helped this woman. She was the kindest, sweetest old lady you would ever meet. I have always referred to her as "the grandmother you would see on "Leave It To Beaver." The kind that always had fresh baked cookies every time you came over. She would give the shirt off her back to a complete stranger. But that was my grandmother. Sadly, I can't say that about this person now. In a way, she's already left us. The dementia that has consumed her mind has changed her to someone that is almost foreign to us now.
I also watched cancer take my other grandmother about 24 years ago, when I was about 12, just two weeks before Christmas. Her husband passed from a heart attack just 3 weeks prior on Nov 4. With these passings so close to Christmas, the holidays have never been the same and unfortunately changed my life forever. I have become bitter when it comes to the Holiday season. Angry and cold that people that so dearly took care of me where taken from me during a time of what was supposed to be the time of being with those you were thankful to have. Please don't let this happen to yourself.
Watching a very close relative deteriorate like this is more than painful. Especially when it's a relative that has helped care for you, and vice versa. Painful is an understatement. There are no words to describe what it's like watching someone deteriorate like this before your own eyes over the course of a couple of years. Almost like watching a beautiful flower wilt in slow motion.
You have my utmost condolences and sympathy.