Jean’s eyes bristled with tears as she placed her hand on Grandmama’s shoulder. The frail, old woman smiled sadly at her granddaughter and shifted her position on the hard hospital bed to look into her eyes. “Jean,” she managed to say before starting another coughing fit. It lasted several minutes, and each time Grandmama gasped for breath Jean winced. She hated seeing her like this. Had it only been a few months before when Jean had helped Grandmama make cookies at her house? It had only been a few days after that when the cancer took a terrible turn. Now she could only watch as her precious grandmother lay dying before her eyes.

Jean stifled a cry as she gazed at Grandmama. How could she leave her after all Grandmama had done for her? After all, it wasn’t Jean’s mother or father who had comforted when her boyfriend dumped her–it was Grandmama. And who had faithfully come to every single volleyball game to cheer Jean on? Grandmama, of course. How could she die at a time like this?

It took a moment before Jean realized she was crying. She should stay strong for Grandmama, she knew, but how? All sheholding hands wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry.

A wrinkled hand slowly came to test on top of Jean’s. “Jean,” the old woman whispered. There was an evident difficulty in even speaking. “Jean,” she said again, “I…love you.”

Jean smiled gratefully at her wonderful grandmother. Yes, it was hard. She knew Grandmama wasn’t going to live much longer, but suddenly it was a little easier. She couldn’t hold on to her forever.

Swallowing her pain, Jean wiped the tears from her eyes and squeezed Grandmama’s hand. “Yes, Grandmama,” she replied bravely, “I love you too.”

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