As I posted last week, my grandmother has cancer; 6 months to live if she doesn't treat it, 12-18 if she does chemo.
And my parents were pushing really hard for that chemo. Which, to me, sounds impossibly cruel. I had a very strong feeling that my grandmother would refuse treatment, as she's pretty much been checked out of Life in This World for a while already. Her husband is dead, all of her friends are dead, she has no hobbies, she sits in her retirement-community condo all day and pretty much interacts with no one but my mother. She's tired. She's bored. She's okay with going. And what sense is there in grabbing for another 6 months if those months are full of pain and illness?
This is where I tell you things that will make some stuff make sense: My mother has never lived farther from her mother than about ten minutes. They speak on the phone daily, and have lunches and dinners together several times a week. This is part of why I was so difficult for my mother, and why she clung so hard to my sister that my sister is still, at 34 and married, living with my mother. In my mother's head, that's what a mother-daughter relationship is.
So I understand. I understand that my mother doesn't want to let her mother go, in part because she's her mother and she loves her, but also because she has never had a life that doesn't involve daily contact with her. This is a complete demolishing of my mother's foundations. So she's angry at her mother for refusing treatment. "Well, this means she's only going to get worse. The tumor is going to keep growing and she's just going to get sicker."
I said, "Mom, that would happen with or without chemo."
I did not remind her how horribly ill the chemo would make Grandma, because she was not able to think about that right then, I think. But I fully expect to have to sit her down when I visit later this month and talk her through this, how the chemo would put her through such incredible unthinkable misery, and then the tumor would start growing again and she would die anyway. There is no option that does not end in Grandma dying in the near future. Given that, the only humane choice is the choice with the least pain.
Mom is honoring Grandma's wishes, even though she disagrees. Which I am tremendously thankful for. (I was dreading having to sit her down and talk her out of forcibly treating my grandmother against her will.)
I will be going down to Florida soon, probably for Rosh Hashanah. That's going to be hard, but the hardest parts are yet to come. My mother will be completely unmoored. And... my sister is Not a Help. So that's all gonna fall on me. So many years of successfully Not Dealing With my Mother, and now, well, here we go.
So that's that. At least my grandmother has chosen and my mother is respecting her wishes. We have that.