This is my grandmother's house (with my sister looking weird and neon-y, sketching on the porch).  And this is the ramp at my grandmother's house that my dad and my uncle built so that she can be wheeled on and off the van that takes her to the dialysis center three times a week.

I know the blogosphere is generally a happy and positive place and my life is as well.  But life has its brutally honest moments and this is one of them.  A trip to LA isn't glamorous for my family and it's not full of shopping in Hollywood or Disney.  It's a chance to visit my grandmother the few times that we will be able to before she passes.  Before her kidneys fail, her heart will.  My cousin's a doctor and his diagnosis was confirmed by her physician.  Each day is harder and harder for her and she's scared of letting go.  Please don't feel bad for her though.  She's surrounded by loved ones - my aunt, cousins, uncle and lots of friends - and still has enough spunk and sass to order all of us around.  She has terrific doctors and access to some of the best medical treatment.  Grandma is stubborn as a mule and continues to live life more or less according to her own terms.  And at some point, as it will for everyone on earth, it'll end.

I don't mean to suggest that I know anything about death and I'm not presumptuous enough to pretend like I'll be ready for it when it's my time.  But I know that if my life is even half of what my grandmother's has been, I'll count myself lucky to live out my final days among the birds and fruit trees in the backyard, surrounded by my family.