The day after I learned of the situation in which Grandma was now living, I went to have a short conversation with Daughter. I wanted to know some of the details of her mother's condition. As it turned out it is about typical for a long-time dialysis patient. Things break down, infection takes over and the end of life is near. There is nothing that can save a person in this set of circumstances. I had already decided to go have a short visit with Grandma, so when I found out where she was resting, I went to say good-bye.
When I arrived the patient was sleeping, but I figured that she with what was ahead of her, losing a few minutes of rest would not be a great loss. I shook her gently and spoke softly, "Avuelita". She turned her head a little bit and with one eye open and one half-closed, she looked at me and wondered who was there out of uniform. I asked if she could recognize me. She shook her head. I told her that she would know me if she could see my van. Still, no recognition. I looked at her and simply said, with a litle bit of feigned impatience, "Hey you!" Her eyes lit up and her face was split in half with the smile that she made. "Hey You. I miss you. I'm not going today. I'm too tired."
"Too tired?" said I. "How can that be? You're in bed." Again, she smiled. I looked at her and said, "I know. I know that you are getting ready to go home." She wasn't smiling, but there was asolutely no sadness in her mien as she softly said, "Si." Her eyes did not turn away from mine as I said, "God is offering you His hand. He wants you to go for a walk with Him. Do you think He will take you to the Garden of Eden?" She just smiled and I could see her trying to understand the mystery that was upon the both of us at the moment.
After a moment, I looked at her and said, "When you and God are holding hands, I want to ask you if you would tell Him that 'Hey You' is a good guy?" Her laugh was instantaneous and deep, and all she said was "Si?"
Now I was laughing. "Si?" "Avuelita (I always called her Grandma) do you doubt that 'Hey You' is a good guy? Please say that you will tell God that I am OK." With her face shining with humor and loving friendship she asked if I thought that God would let her hug Him. I said that I was sure that He would, even though there are a lot of people that He has to attend to. She was reassured then and said, "While he's hugging me I'll tell Him about you."
At that moment, the hospice nurse came in and the refrain that I had come to know so well began, "I'm thirsty"; "Do you have a cookie?" The only reason she didn't ask me was because she wasn't in my van. So she drank a little water, told the nurse that her eye was sore, that her mouth was still dry and that she was hungry. I said a little prayer to God, "Get ready, Lord, Grandma is on her way."
The nurse and I exchanged pleasantries before she retraced her footsteps back to her station.
When she had left I bent over and gave Grandma a nice soft kiss on the cheek. I had never done that, but I figured that if she was going to put in a good word for me Upstairs, I better do something nice. She smiled and said nothing. I put my hand on her head, said a short prayer of blessing for her and to God and wished her well.
In a last shot of humor she said to me, "Now I can tell you, 'Adios'." She remembered! "Hey You" would always correct her when she bade him "Adios". "Hey You" would always remind her that "Hasta la vista" was preferable since "Adios" seems so final. It was her last word. Mine was,