What price, Happiness?
My grandma has gone home.
I visited her today. She had just woken up when I arrived at the familiar apartment at which I had spent four years of my life, just before I moved to my current place. She was surprised to see me, and was in high spirits; I was not sure if my arrival was the cause of her good mood. Whatever it was, she started talking animatedly as soon as I sat down on her bed.
It was like she was making up for lost time, the poor thing. She talked about the weather, asked about my work, and not before long, she began reminiscing about the past. This was “our thing”, the little chat between grandma and her first grand-daughter. When I was growing up with her, we did it every mid-day, while we were having a little siesta. She’d tell me stories of her mother, the WWII, my dad, and uncles and aunties… I must have heard those stories hundreds of times. But don’t misunderstand, I loved those stories. I lived her younger years through her stories, and I was the only one who knew what “the adults” were like when they were young. Not my brothers or my cousins. I was the first grandchild, it was my birthright.
Today, those stories went on and on. But I wasn’t listening. I was taking in her voice, those gentle singing notes that illustrated the stories she regaled. It mattered to me because that voice is now precious to me. A little more than a week ago, that voice was possessed by ghosts. They were mere vapour condensations behind the heavy duty oxygen mask that covered most of her face and left heartbreaking bruises on her forehead, nose and cheeks. Each time pure oxygen was forced into her failing lungs, the sheer pressure from the machines would push her head back into the pillow and dry out her lips. She’d have to wait for two seconds before she could, with all her might, shout through the mask so that we could hear her. Even then, the vacuum behind the mask swallowed her words, and we would have to guess at what she was trying to say. Then we’d watch the beeping of the machine to make sure she remained within the required oxygen levels. I can’t describe our frustrations; can you imagine hers?
I know my grandma will not live forever but if there was anything within my power to make that happen, I would do it. Because she has lived a wonderful life. Because she doesn’t deserve this. I want her to go healthy, smiling, painless, and worry-free. But until then, I am but my grandma’s favourite grandchild who will never do enough to make her as happy as I want her to be.