In the summer of 2010, 四姑姑 was diagnosed with lung cancer. The whole family was beyond devastated. They were trying to support her and do whatever they could. I went home in March of 2010 so I saw my mom, and I did notice she was like getting thinner and also her whole condition was not as well as it used to be. But because of 四姑姑’s lung cancer and because the whole family was so busy, in a way they didn’t really see how grandma was suffering.
In the fall of 2011, her condition started to deteriorate. She got a persistent low fever that just would not get better. So they hospitalized her and found an infection in the lung, but the infection was very persistent. And then her white blood cells kept dropping. The immature white blood cell count was shooting through the roof. So really, all the tell tale signs of leukemia.
By October, her condition was deteriorating really fast so I went back to be with her. It was the most difficult time. On one hand, I wanted to spend time with 四姑姑. She was going to different hospitals, trying to do the different cat scans, treatments, hospitalization. On the other hand, my mom was in a different hospital, so I was going back and forth between the two places. I felt so torn that I could not be with the two of them at the same time. After a month, finally grandma’s fever was somewhat under control after so much antibiotics, so much treatment. We took her home knowing that it would be a really tough time, but she suffered so much in the hospital – discomfort; it wasn’t physical pain, but discomfort, uneasiness. So we took her back and I came home to be with you guys. It was another terrible decision to make, but I had to come back and take care of you guys.
Two weeks after I came back, her condition took another deep dive and she was hospitalized again. She passed away after a few days. I took the next flight back and then helped arrange a proper funeral to send her off. It was very difficult but at least I felt, unlike in my father’s case, I was able to grieve. With my mom I was able to go back and grieve with all my sisters, and then be part of that final goodbye. Grandma had a very difficult life but also a very blessed life, with all of us – I mean her children. We just loved her so much.