My nan’s Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma has resurfaced. It’s a type of cancer. She’s having chemotherapy. She has also developed anaemia and is constantly having blood transfusions. I hadn’t visited her for a couple of weeks and my mother said she didn’t want anybody to see her because she was weak. This only induced a strong feeling inside that now was the very time I needed to see her. When she was at her weakest and wanting to be alone, was the time that she needed the most support. If my mother refused my visit I would have gone anyway, I could sense my nan’s frail spirit. She was laying in her bed that was in her lounge, waved silver hair annihilated to nothing, blanket draped over figure. I asked if I could kiss her; she had never been one for affection. We had general conversation, I could see her face becoming lighter and occasional smiles stretching across her tired face. My mother and aunty joined us. The cleaner joined us in talking about plants as she tidied the wet room. There was talk of childhood memories, double rainbows, bread making, and Malaysia as the room was filled with voices, love, peace, and laughter.
My nan began to feel nauseous and vomited for a while as she lay clutching a bowl. I felt helpless. Inadequate in relieving her suffering, and uncomfortable that I was sitting waiting for the pain to end. She murmured ‘God I can’t stand it’ and I looked down at the floor clasping my hands together telling God that she was calling out to Him. She had already been through so much pain and she had already been so strong. Why must it persist? I wanted to hold her hand and tell her how much strength she had. I wanted to stroke her swollen feet that were protruding from the sheet, and I wanted to tell her that it would be ok. But instead I stared at the ground asking God to love her when I couldn’t.
I had committed to a 24 hour fast in the hope of my prayers being dutifully answered. In this time that I could not offer support, while my mother and aunty rushed to plump pillows, cook food, medicate, speak with doctors, and persuade to drink, I sat useless with my contribution. Physically I did nothing, but spiritually I had gone without food and water and had prayed and prayed to up-lift my nan’s spirit. I didn’t know if it helped. I didn’t know how to help with all of those other necessities. I only knew that a spirit was suffering, that a soul was in darkness, and as much as I have wished to have the capability to shed overpowering light into great darkness, I cannot. So it is up to God, and that is where I must leave it.