Sunday, May 15, 2005

Nan dies

Nan (mum's mum) died a few days ago aged 82 yrs old. I wasn't very close to her tho so i wasn't directly affected too much. She'd been ill for about a month. Her diabetes really flared up and i was wondering if her 2 daughters who live with her were able to feed her sensibly. They're not very capable or knowledgeable like that. But they've been doing it for years so i'm sure it just flared up for some other reason.

In hospital, apparently there was some insanely impossible high sugar count in her blood... cant remember now... something like 70 or something. I think that damaged a few of her organs cos she never did recover from that and developed loads of problems like kidney failure, weak heart, hypo-tension, a bad stroke while she was unconscious (which left her paralysed on one side) and an infection on her foot that led to gangrene.

She had surgery to cut off a few toes but she never really recovered from the surgery and remained only half conscious after it til she died about a week later.

The doctor called us in a room one day to say she wasn't going to recover and that should anything happen like a heart attack or her breathing stopping, he wanted our input on what should be done in case it was a borderline decision. Basically asking us if they should resuscitate her or let her die. I was quite surprised they let us decide things like that. The family decided to let her die as it would just delay the inevitable and cause suffering.

A few days later they decide to stop some of her medications and to let her die. I think she was expected to pass away that night or the next day or something but she managed to hang in there for about a week, each day becoming slightly more conscious. She'd be able to open her eyes one day... a day or 2 later she was managing to respond to us with yes or no's.... a further day or 2 she was pulling sentences together... til she finally passed away one early morning.

When we visited her, relatives close to her were sad, obviously. But ppl who weren't close to her were sad too. My brother who see's her about 3 times a year (and even that's when they have to see each other during Diwali or something) cried on seeing her. Maybe seeing other ppl cry made him cry. Although unlikely as he's tough as nuts. He probably felt sorry for her lying there, possibly suffering. I was kind of pleased for her, that she's finished this life and is onto whatever comes next.

One thing annoyed me. One of my uncles (from dad's side) went to see her and then calls my mum up saying she's not looking good and it looks like "her souls stuck in her body cos she has things she wants to say or worries about the ppl she'll leave behind". So him and his wife suggested we make sure we tell nan everything's gonna be okay here when your gone. And to do prayers so she passes away peacefully. We held a prayers thingy that night and nan passed away the next day. Eery! But it annoyed me that he just stated it as kind of fact. How is he supposed to know what's going on. He hardly knows her himself.

We're Hindu Gujarati's so we hold 10 days of prayers for 1 hour after the death. It's a strange feeling sitting there for 1 hour in the middle of people singing songs i don't even understand (religious Sanskrit songs). I'm not even a religious Hindu. I pray in my own way, not to a temple or to pictures of gods such as Ram or Krishna. I wonder what some of my relatives think of my non-religiousness. Whether they think i don't even believe in god at all. Or if they look down on me.

Today at the temple, one of my cousins was explaining to me how to do the praying procedure when you go into a temple in case i did it wrong. And it felt so odd doing it as it doesn't mean anything to me.

Tomorrow is the funeral. I've only been to one before, my aunts about 5 years ago. That shocked me a bit as i was young then. They bring the body to the home where the person lived. And everyone was queuing up to do something, i never asked what, and just went in when it was my turn and my aunts body was just lying there in the coffin type thing. I didn't expect to see a dead body there in front of me when i walked in!!!! And you had to throw something on her, cant remember what. Some blessed flowers or something. This part causes a lot of crying. Probably designed to help grieving. Then they take the body to the cemetery and have it cremated.

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