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My Grandmother


It was a couple weeks after winter break.  The winter frost was turning miraculous spring bloom.  I just got home from school but I heard my mother’s voice talking, which was very surprising since she didn’t usually come home this early from work.   I heard my mom crying and talking in a meek, quiet tone.  She said in a strained voice, ‘’Uncle Mesio called, your grandmother is in the hospital she has pneumonia.”  So my mom, step dad, sister and I packed up our suitcases got ready and the next day we went south bound to Sacramento California. As we were driving south, we saw huge pastures, beautiful winter green forests and cities that stretched across miles and miles of land.  It was like my family was in a movie going on a road trip. But as we drove down there and we wanted to get to California the quickest way possible.  We stopped only once or twice and it was a total of 14 hours of driving.  After spending hours travelling, we finally made it to where my grandmother was staying at Kaiser Hospital.


Though my family’s minivan is huge and comfortable with reclinable seats, we remained nervous, worried and scared.  We didn’t sit well during our drive..  It was pitch black 11 in the evening when we arrived at the hospital parking garage .  Once we got out of the car, some of our worries went away knowing that my grandmother was safely in the hospital.  We started walking down a cold, wet, concrete walkway seeing cars everywhere and finally found the stairs to descend onto the street level. I breathed in the parking lot air and I smelled something weird.   

I said to my mom “it smells like pee.’’ My mom replied “there are a lot of homeless people that have no place to go to the restroom’’


I let out a loud voice “eww” and I thought to myself there are so many less fortunate people out there.


Once I found that people go to the restroom on the stairs I started moving a whole lot faster, as if I were being chased. As we were walking, we got lost since there were 6 Kaiser buildings - all the same but all different in one way or another. After 15 minutes of searching for the main building, we found it a dark gray, huge 4-story structure. We walked in the sliding door and the first thing you saw was people in light blue rubber suits and masks.  The first thing you smelled was cleaning products, and metal a nasty combination. We wanted to get there as fast as we could so we went up the elevator each floor tick, tick, tick like a bomb ready to explod,e all of us anxious and filled with suspense. Then at last room B12 was just across from the elevator.  We walked in and saw, this old clearly sick man with a breathing mechanism up against his mouth.

Then we realized we got the wrong room.  It was B2, not B12  We rushed across the bacteria filled hall and saw my grandmother in a gray hospital bed. So happy to see us with joy in her eyes and a smile on her face, she lit up with excitement.


As we were about to go into the room, my Uncle Mesio stopped us at the door and said “All of you need to put on these suits, gloves, and masks since she might be contagious.’’We all replied “okay’’

So once we put on the suits, my mom kept saying ‘’its okay, mom, we are here now’’ in a comforting smooth tone.

As my mom was talking to my grandmother and hugging her, my step-dad and I were talking in the background.  I asked him if she was going to die, and he said that she will go when it’s her time to go. My sister and I stood at the end of our Grandmother’s hospital bed but then my mom nudged us forward to her.  We tried to have conversation with her even though my grandmother lost the ability to speak from many strokes.  Her smile was all we needed. Since my grandmother was very sick, I got to feed her applesauce.  Looking at her condition, it was so hard to see her like this shriveled, in pain and dying.  Every spoonful I fed her made me want to cry. After I fed her, my sister and I held her hands.  When  I saw her look at me,  I  stared back.  I looked into her brown beautiful eyes, so intense as if she was looking into my soul.

When my grandmother started falling asleep, tired from the long day, my sister tried pulling her hand away from our grandmother’s hand but grandma had a really tight grip. So my sister stayed holding my grandmother wrinkled and small hand for 30 minutes trying to slowly pull her hand away without waking her,  It was almost midnight.

The nurse came in and said’’ it is getting late i think you guys need to let her rest.’’

My sister pulled her hand away and my grandmother awoke with a scary intense look on her face.

And my mom said ‘’its okay mom we will be back tomorrow. I love you mom.’’

When we started to take off the suits, masks and gloves and getting ready to leave, my older sister asked if we could keep the gloves.  She thought they were cool so she took a couple pairs of light blue rubbery gloves. As we were going, my family said a couple of good byes and my grandmother started crying as if she was dying from pain.  She let out a weird noise trying to talk, trying to say something anything but she couldn't. We still had more than an hour to drive since my grandfather lived in Nework. Jumping in are car tired from the long day of driving and the emotional pain I fell asleep so relieved. Once we got to my grandfathers small gray, one story house, we dropped our bags, gave hugs to my grandfather, then went straight to sleep.

When we got up the next day morning, California sunshine welcomed us and it was sunny like that the that every day we visited my grandmother.  Every day there, I imagined her heart stopping and her dying right in front of me and seeing her cold dead just lying there, but she never did. Later in the week we moved her to a hospice home signing papers and making sure the nursing home was a good place for her.  Then we returned home to Washington.

A couple of weeks later, we got a call from my uncle.  He said’’Mom is dead. She had died in her sleep.’’ he told my mom in a cold, sad, voice.

My mom got out a small “Okay, Mesio bye.” in a bitter tone.

Then my mother started crying uncontrollably, and my sister and I had to comfort her by hugging her. The following week after we found that my grandmother had died, we flew to Sacramento California to go to her funeral,  When we walked in, we saw family from Canada, the Philippines, California, and us from Washington - everyone with gloomy faces. Now that I reflect on what happened, I feel regret, sadness and remorse.  I remember all the good times we spent with my grandmother and all the bad. Then I realized I really didn't have a big connection to her, and I found that people don't know what they have until it's gone.  I realized that you need to have the attitude of gratitude all the time. I will always miss her, but everyone has to go at some point and she was clearly in pain.  Now I know she is in a better place. You should always be thankful and remember what and who you have in your life.      

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