Friday, January 20, 2012

Saying Goodbye to my 100 year-old grandmother

A picture of me with my grandmother, Susan Thelma (MacKenzie) Pace at her 99th b-day last year.
She turned 100 in Nov 2011. She passed away last night at 11:30pm.
 Last night my grandmother, Susan Thelma Pace passed away at the age of 100. Until a few days ago she was perfectly healthy but she fell and shattered her hip and things quickly deteriorated. She was rushed to the Dartmouth General Hospital and because they were so full she stayed in the emergency ward until the last few hours of her life.

I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all the wonderful emergency nurses who tried their best to comfort her and respect her wishes. At about 4pm yesterday staff found the family a small private room so we and the hospital minister could say our final farewells because they thought her death would be fairly immediate after taking her off the oxygen. My grandmother loved to have all her children and extended family around her and that’s what we did last night. Well, for those that know my grandmother you know she’s a fighter. Her pulse steadied out and after two hours staff reported to us that they had secured a semi-private room for her upstairs because they weren’t sure how long the process would take.

I had always told my grandmother I would stay with her until her last breath but I will admit I was getting very tired and once she was moved upstairs her breathing steadied and her son, my uncle Danny and I thought she might make it through until the morning. I told her I can only stay until 11:30pm tonight Gram and she’d have to hang on until I came back around 8am. I honestly think she heard me. At 11pm her breathing slowed and then at 11:25pm she took one big breath and it was over a minute before she took another. We checked her pulse and Danny went to the get the nurse and then she took one last breath. Danny walked in, looked at the clock and said, “Renee it’s 11:30pm she heard you.” Her death was very peaceful and it went the way she wanted – in her sleep.

The family had their chance to say good bye and I told her she taught me everything good in my life. Her optimism, her faith and belief that people are born good became integral parts to my core beliefs. My grandmother represented a generation gone bye. She didn’t need a lot to make her happy – her loving family was enough. I will never forget you, Gram.

1 comment:

Tuere Morton said...

This post truly touched me. I'm so happy the staff was so accomodating to you and you're family. Having worked on an oncology (cancer) floor for a few years--and a nursing home prior to that--I've witnessed a great many times where patients wait to see that last relative or holiday or birthday to pass before they're ready to go. Such an inexplicable phenom. Thanks for sharing your story :)