My Grandma Riessen, my mom's mom, who had been my last living grandparent since my Grandma Cederquist's death in 2004, passed away yesterday from complications that arose during surgery to remove her bladder. It was the second surgery she'd undergone in an attempt to clear the cancer that had infiltrated her bladder and one of her kidneys. The tumor hadn't spread distantly yet but was bleeding steadily. Her urologist felt that if she could make it through the surgery, in which they would remove the cancerous bladder and form a new one from intestinal tissue, and multi-week recovery, that she would have better quality of life for the rest of her days, which could have been months to years in his opinion. Without it, the tumor would continue to bleed and she'd need to receive units of blood regularly. But the risks of surgery were great. Though we knew this, we looked to Grandma's speedy recovery from the first surgery as a sign she'd pull through. But it wasn't to be.
In spite of the sadness, I can't help but remember that nothing bothered Grandma more than the thought of a protracted illness or having to spend any portion of her life in a nursing home. After watching my grandpa deteriorate gradually over many painful years, she was blessed with a quick and painless passing.
Over the years Grandma and I were Scrabble, cards & shopping buddies. She taught me to knit. Grandma was quiet and strong. She was one classy lady. And she'll be greatly missed.