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When Finally Set Free

Posted on April 10th, 2009

On Mother’s Day a couple of years ago, my grandma had a stroke. She was 89 years old at the time and the likelihood of her pulling through was not good. Nevertheless, defying the odds, she pressed onward and made a very appreciable recovery. Not long after this, though, the decision was made to place her in a long-term care facility; having constant medical attention and professional support for her became more urgent and couldn’t wait any longer.

After some initial resistance, she eventually acclimatized and began to live comfortably in her new environment. The family visited regularly (me included, whenever I was in Toronto) and her health continued to improve under the supervision of the staff there. Along the way, there were some minor scares but she remained in reasonably good shape. During those minor scares, I would usually get an email with the topic “Grandma” and a cold chill always went up my spine when I saw it. For one reason or another, I always assumed for the worst.

So, too, was the case when dad emailed me a few days ago. He reported that grandma was starting to refuse food (which is apparently not uncommon for those in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s) and this raised some alarm bells. Even he could not coax her to eat enough, if at all. Since then, I have been receiving regular updates on her status (he was able to get to eat some food every once in a while). These updates were, as usual, emailed using short and non-descript topics that left the mystery of the matter to the text itself.

This morning, Good Friday, I was running some errands and listening to Copeland. As I arrived home, the song “When Finally Set Free” was playing. This is the final track from a great album (Beneath Medicine Tree) and this was interrupted by a phone call from my brother. A particularly cold chill went up my spine. This was the last day from her great life. After 91 years, grandma was finally set free and arrived at her home.

3 Responses to “When Finally Set Free”

  1. kat Says:

    Sorry Justin.. hope you and your family are coping well. I will pray for you.

  2. Jasmine Says:

    I echo Kat’s sentiments. Nice post though – very eloquently put. I’ll be praying for you.

  3. Justin Chan Says:

    Kat, Jasmine:

    Thanks for your prayers and support 🙂 Mentally, I’ve been prepared for this for quite some time so it isn’t hitting me all that hard; it still feels a little surreal but I think that I’ll be fine. I just feel for my dad as he experienced all of this first-hand.

    It’s great to hear from you though. If only they were under better circumstances…

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