No one, not even the doctor, has mentioned the actual word “cancer” to Grandma. He spoke to Mom privately about the ugly truth and only referenced it rather vaguely to Grandma, asking her if she would consider radiation treatment if it turned out that the “spot” on her lungs turned out to be “something worse than pneumonia.” We’ve been debating how much to tell her, because nothing they do will cure it — the mass is way too big to remove and, while radiation will theoretically stop it from growing more, I think that’s all it can do at this point. Mom doesn’t want to upset her with the hard facts and ruin what time she has left — particularly since she’s said before how afraid she is of dying. Sadly, though, she seems to be figuring out that what she has is very, very bad. And there’s nothing we can do to make it better.

It’s funny how all the rational arguments — she’s 92 and she’s had a full life and she can’t live forever, and she smoked all her life so it was inevitable — just seem meaningless when you’ve got to live with the reality of the situation: that she’s a sad, frightened, child-like old woman who doesn’t want to die.

I guess there are no easy comforts when you have to face the end of a life.

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