June 20, 1936--April 24, 2015
Jacqueline Faye Brigman
Saturday March 21st: I went up to Redding to help my mom clean out/organize my brothers old room. That evening I took dinner over to my grandma since she had said she didn't feel up to coming over to my parents house for dinner. She opened her door and I could instantly tell she didn't feel well. She was using a cane and you could just see the pain on her face. I didn't stay long, but gave her a hug as I left and told her I would see her in 2 weeks for Easter.
*During the following week my mom had taken my grandma to get a PET scan to see what was going on with the pain she was having in her groin/leg area as well as a couple of lumps she had found.
Friday March 27: My grandma went to the dr to receive the results from her PET scan. With my mom by her side, the dr told my grandma she had lung cancer. It had spread to her liver as well as her lymphatic system. The Dr wanted to schedule a biopsy of her liver to see more details about the type of cancer as well as the stage. After the appointment my mom called me and told me. In the back of my mind I knew it was cancer, but I just didn't want to admit it. I wasn't ready to have my grandma go through any type of illness let alone cancer! I asked my mom if I could FaceTime with her while she was still at her house. Grandma was her usual self "well Lindz, I guess your mom told you I have cancer!"
Friday April 3-6: James, Wesley, Landon and I drove up to Redding for Easter. I was able to go over to grandmas every day while we were there. She was in pain, but with the help of pain medicine she said "its manageable, its like a dull pain, you know its there!" We talked about all sorts of things over the weekend. **Mom had asked my grandma's dr if she had to ballpark how much longer my grandma had what would she say...her dr not being an expertise in the cancer field said probably 2-3 months. So when we left I had told my grandma I would probably come back up and see her for Mothers Day weekend.
*The following week Grandma had her liver biopsy along with finding more lumps. She was scheduled to see the Oncologist on April 17 to go over the results
Thursday April 16: My dad came to my house and drove myself and Landon up to Redding. On the way up we stopped at Carls Jr. and got Western Bacon Burgers-these were grandma's favorite! :) That night we went over to Grandmas house. To see how quickly my grandma had changed broke my heart. I talk to my mom every day and because she was the one taking care of my grandma, I knew this, but knowing and seeing are two very different things. She was so happy to see Landon though. He smiled and giggled at her which made my heart so happy. She had received a shipment of her perfume she wears (Amazing Grace by Philosophy), and told me to take the set with me-I said Grandma are you sure? She goes "Lindz, don't argue with me, take the whole set-lotion, perfume, and body scrub! :) Even on her death bed she was still giving me things-I could probably fill up several storage tubs with all the things she has given me over my lifetime!
Friday April 17: Her appt was at 10am. My dad, his two brothers, and my mom sat next to my grandma as the oncologist told her the cancer was very aggressive, it had spread practically every where, she had numerous tumors-the pain in her groin was a 6" tumor- and that she had 1-2 weeks to live. He said she could come in for radiation treatment to lessen the pain, but she would have to come every day...she declined. Hospice was called and they came out to the house that same day. I sat outside in my car during her appt. My dad came outside first to pull the car around to the front. His eyes were teary and all he could say was 1-2 weeks. It took everything in me not to burst into tears, I didn't want my grandma to see me like that. My uncle wheeled her out of the office, as I bent down to give her a hug she whispered "my little brown baby (a nickname she had always called me because I get so tan), I love you" We were all going back to her house, so I got into my car and the tears just flowed! I felt like I had been hit by a bus...1-2 weeks?! I could not even fathom not having my grandma around.
Saturday April 18: spent the majority of the day over at my grandma's. At this point she was spending all her time in her bed practically. I would just sit on the side of her bed, hold her hand and we would just talk about life. She told me stories from her young adulthood, as well as stories about my dad as a little guy.
Sunday April 19: Dad and I had to go home this day. I went over to grandma's house and again just visited with her. I knew, as well as everyone else, that this would probably be one of the last, if not the last coherent conversation we would have. I sat on her bed, held her hand and told her how thankful/blessed I was to be her granddaughter, thankful for our friendship and for her being one of my biggest cheerleaders in life, thankful Wesley got to experience her love and even thankful Landon got to meet his GG, and that even though she would be gone someday-her legacy would live on as I will tell my sons how amazing she was. It was a conversation I will never forget and I am eternally grateful I was able to have it. That weekend was such an emotionally draining weekend.
*Because she was no longer responsible for taking her pain medication, someone had to be with her 24/7. My mother was, as my grandma called her, "her angel" She spent the night Sunday night, and Monday night, then my uncle came and stayed with her tues, wed, thurs. My other uncle arrived late thursday night. I had planned on going up Friday morning, however, thursday night I talked to my dad on the phone. He told me he didn't want my last memory of Grandma to be how she was at that point. She was in pain, and just not herself. I agreed and am very thankful to my dad for protecting me in that way.
Friday April 24: My mom and I txt'd practically 24/7. Even though I wasn't there I wanted to still feel like I was. My mom kept sending me updates. She had told me she thought today was going to be the day. James had to work a 12 hr day so I decided since he was working, I would put the boys in the car and go get myself a Western since Grandma was on my mind. As I pulled into the drive thru I received the call from my mom "grandma has passed." My heart shattered!! I pulled into a parking spot, handed wesley my phone to play a game and silently cried and cried! Finally pulled myself together and drove to my inlaws-I didn't really want to be at home by myself. James got off work about 1.5 hr later so I went home and the second I saw James I lost it again! Didn't really sleep well that night and definitely did not pack like I had planned.
Saturday April 25: James, myself, Wesley and Landon all packed up and drove up to Redding. Sunday I went over to my grandma's house for the first time since my grandma had passed. Walking into her house and being able to smell her perfume, yet knowing she was gone, hit me like a truck!
We stayed in Redding until Thursday. Grandma didn't want a funeral service, she wanted to be cremated and didn't want us sitting around crying over her.
So once my uncles and dad figure out the best date, we will all get together to sprinkle her ashes, have a bbq, and tell stories about our beloved grandma, mother, sister, aunt, and friend-just what she wanted us to do!
Love you grandma, and miss you every day!
-Your little brown baby