‘Nana is in the hospital.’ She had a tear in her heart and only had three more days to live. It was unreal.’: Woman raised by grandma says ‘it is truly a miracle she is still here with us’

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“It was Saturday, September 22nd, 2018, my nana’s birthday. It was also the day that would change me forever.

I was in Joshua Tree for my friend’s birthday when I got a phone call from my mom. ‘Nana is in the hospital.’ She was out for her birthday dinner when she got severe chest pains and had to be taken to the hospital to get some tests done to see what was going on. Eventually, they told her nothing was wrong, gave her anxiety medicine, and sent her home.

The next day my mom called to say Nana was back in the hospital. She still was having chest pains, and she knew something wasn’t right. After more tests, they finally found what was wrong. She had a tear in her heart. That is usually caused by an accident, but in this case, most likely it was caused by age. Her heart was bleeding and filling up the sack around her heart with blood. This is an extremely rare thing to happen, and the only solution is open-heart surgery. The doctors said with her age, the chance of her surviving an 8-hour heart surgery was little to none. Nana opted out of the surgery, but what they didn’t tell her that they told my mom, is that she had only about three more days to live.

Nana raised me, alongside my mom, for my whole life. Moving from Pennsylvania to California was one of the hardest things I had to do because I was moving away from her. She’s my best friend. It never fully occurred to me, one day she won’t be here. Getting that phone call from my mom that she had three days left on this earth was unreal.

I boarded a plane right away to go home. As heartbreaking as it would be, I needed to spend her last few days by her side, just like she spent my whole life by mine. She didn’t know how little time she had left, and we wanted to keep it that way.

We set up hospice and moved her from the hospital back to her home where she had lived for over 50 years. A priest came and gave her Holy Communion. People I haven’t seen in years came over to see her and say their goodbyes.

I spent the whole time by her side. We talked a lot, laughed a lot, cried a lot, and relived so many memories we shared. Most importantly, we learned. We learned about her life, which I never even thought to ask about before. Little details that I will cherish forever. Things that made her the woman I know and love. We also talked about death. It was the hardest conversation to have, one I never thought I would have with her or anyone, for that matter. But it was so important. She wasn’t afraid, and she wanted me to know that. She was excited to see my grandfather after all of these years. She told me to go into her room and bring her one of her necklaces. She held it up high and showed me something she had seen on TV (she watches a lot of TLC). She told me she had seen a show where you can talk to the dead using their necklace. She showed me how to do it and gave me that necklace. She said she would always talk to me with it.

It was time for me to go back to California. I can’t explain the pain I felt leaving and saying goodbye to her. I never wanted to let her go, knowing that would be the last time I would ever hold her, hear her voice, see her laugh. My mom is a nurse and stayed with her and took care of her.

I got back home and tried to go on with my life as normally as possible. I couldn’t sleep. Every morning I would feel sick to my stomach checking my phone, waiting to see a text or a missed call from my mom telling me Nana had passed away. Days went by, weeks went by, months went by, and I never got that text. The doctors were shocked. No one could explain it. They said they have never seen a case like this before.

Nana got stronger. She was moving around her house like normal, eating like normal. My mom was able to leave, and eventually, hospice went from seeing her every day to every other day to once a week. A year later, she didn’t need hospice anymore. They said it is SO rare for someone to get off of hospice.

It was September 22nd, 2019. Nana’s birthday. A year since she had been given three days to live. And she was still very much alive.

I wanted to celebrate, so I flew home to surprise her. I hired a photographer to capture the moment. She had no idea what was going on. Seeing her face when she turned around and saw me was something I will forever cherish.

To this day, she is still here with us. No one knows how or why, but she truly is a miracle. It really proves the world works in mysterious ways. Nothing is ever certain. We’re still taking things day by day, but I’ve been given over a year more than I thought I would have with her. I am forever grateful. The past year has been the scariest year of my life, but it also has taught me so many things. Talk often, laugh more, and cherish every possible moment. Do not take anything for granted!

I hope this story gets to someone that needs to hear this. Never lose hope and never stop believing in miracles.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Zoey Grolman. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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