Borrowed time

There's this funny story… I mean, not haha-funny story but downright sinister-funny story… that I’ve never really told anybody up until now, but now that things might've changed a bit, I just guess it's time:

When I was nine years old I had this god-awful nightmare in which my grandmother had passed away and it was an amazingly real dream. It was one of those dreams so frighteningly real that makes you wake up unable to tell fantasy from reality and case in point, I remember waking up with my pillow all wet from crying and utterly confused whether she was indeed alive or what.

So sheer horror notwithstanding, there was this particularly amusing (grim, but still, amusing) bit in which I wanted to ask my mother whether her mother was dead or alive. But I just couldn’t do it, for obvious reasons. I mean how does, “Gee mom I forgot if grandma’s alive or not” sound?
So I just kept feeding my mother with giveaway indirect comments, expecting for the truth to pop up into any of her answers and so on. And in the end I did learn grandma was indeed still alive, without having to embarrass myself with her daughter.

Now I was pretty close to my grandmother back in the day, real close, as in that whole second mother stuff. So what happened was, I got downright terrified for her life. I mean, she was an old lady, right? All grandmothers are old ladies and as far as my worldview (age: nine) was concerned, that was the one basic, common thing all grandmothers would do, which was that in the end they would all die

Which, again, downright terrified me: I couldn’t think of anything else for I guess days or weeks or whatever. Because, I was sure, given my emotional attachment to my grandmother I simply couldn’t take it if she passed away. Which may sound extremely egotistical upon first glance but perfectly acceptable within the aforementioned aged-nine understanding of life.

So then I came to another seemingly egotistical-only-not-really-for-a-kid idea for keeping the old lady alive:
I came up with this silly notion that she couldn’t die until I was close to twenty or thirty years old, because by then I’d be a fully-grown adult already, and would know exactly how to handle her passing and stuff.
And thus that’s how my grandmother never came to die when I was nine years old.

My mother called yesterday with the news: Her mother had just undergone a biopsy- which was something we were all basically unaware of, the stealthy old lady- and the results were in.
Yes there was a tumor.
And yes it was diagnosed malignant.

Which sort of takes your breath away, you know? And not in the Top Gun-kind-of way but in the bag-of-bricks-over-your-solar-plexus manner. Takes the fun out of everything.
Because hey, the old lady is 83, gonna turn 84 next Monday so what kind of treatment is feasible enough in order to be practical?
It’s not chemotherapy, it’s nor radiotherapy.
It’s just- and this is the bit that kills me- sit around watching TV and letting the remaining good times roll.

And then, at age 27 and allegedly a fully grown adult with an unflappable sense of the meaning of life & death I sit around in quite desperation suppressing both scream & tears, frantically trying to remember how to cast that lost spell from back when I was nine and I just can’t because that’s just how things get to (not to) work when you grow up and then I finally wonder of the use we put for all the borrowed time we manage to get for ourselves in this lifetime…