My Great-Grandmother is dying. This is no real surprise, she's nearly 95 and has been in increasingly poor health over the last few years; but the old woman I always figured was mean enough to live forever turned out to be just as frail as anyone else. My Great-Grandmother was never a nice person, at least not as long as I've known her. I love Dear, but she's been a meanspirited, sharptongued, hardhearted old woman for as long as I can remember, and judging from stories my uncle and aunts have told me, longer than that. But she has an amazing strength of will, more than anyone I've ever seen and when my Grandmother said that Dear wasn't trying anymore, I figured that she must be ready to die. Death happens to usall, and she's lived a long and interesting life, so I'm not so worried about Dear.

I'm worried about my grandmother, she called me this morning and didn't sound like herself. She's been in Los Angeles for nearly two months trying to see to her mother's affairs and spending time in the hospital watching a small, frail ninety-four year old woman's life ebb away. I could hear the fatigue in her voice. My Grandmother is nearly 70 and not in the best of health herself, and I fear that she may be overextending herself in her desire to be a dutiful daughter. I think she's still searching for approval from her mother, and that saddens me, because my Grandmother has lived well. She's never been my Great-Grandmother's favorite, even though in the last few years, she was one of the only people to visit Dear frequently. My Grandmother has put so much time and effort doing things for a woman who has never seemed grateful that I can't help but reflect on the parable of the prodigal son; my grandmother was the one who stayed only to be snubbed in favor of the ones who return briefly because their guilty consciences demand it.

My Grandmother is praying for a miracle; but said that the only miracle she thinks she's going to get is Jesus' birth. Dear's kidneys have failed, she has breast cancer, she's had heart failure and she's refused to eat. My Grandmother has been there for her whether or not Dear has been aware and only returned home for Christmas out of exhaustion. I want a miracle too, I want my Grandmother's heart to be soothed and for her to feel loved. I want for Dear to know rest and peace, however that should come. But most of all, I want my Grandmother, my Nana to come out of this and retain her spark, her Auntie Mame-like exuberance and flamboyance. I want life to go on for her not in spite of death, but with the idea that death is not destruction, only change.

Dear, lovely Death
That taketh all things under wing
Never to kill, only to change
Into some other thing
Take this suffering flesh
And make it either more or less
But never again the same.
Dear, lovely death
Change is thy other name

--Langston Hughes