My grandma died. Early Wednesday morning – about 3 AM, my phone rang. I hadn’t had a lot of sleep the previous three nights, so I was pretty groggy. It took my dad three times to tell me what had happened before it registered. I know I will always have that memory of standing in my dark bathroom with the nightlight on, phone in hand, rubbing my eyes, trying to make sense of why my dad’s voice was on the phone when it was my Grandma’s number on the caller ID. I can still remember exactly where I was in my dorm bed when I got a similar call about my grandfather in the wee hours of the morning. I will also never forget holding my other grandmother’s hands as she passed. Death has a way of permanently stamping our memories.
I was totally unprepared for how strongly I reacted to this. I was expecting it, after all. She’d been under Hospice care for 6 months. But she’d had two fair days in a row. Nothing that seemed to say that it was going to be her last day at all. But I feel like I’m doing a lot of crying these days.
My brother was with her when she passed. It was especially hard on him, understandably so. My dad wanted a short and quick service the next day, so we scrambled to get everything in order. She insisted she did not want a funereal, so it was only a small graveside gathering. Husband read a Bible verse that was her favorite. I read the two pages we typed up about her wonderful life. And a minister friend led a prayer. And then we went back to my dad’s for cake and food and company.
I still cannot believe she is gone. That I won’t ever get to talk to her again.
We have not begun to sort through her things. This will be a task, as she lived in the same house for over 50 years. But we did gather up a few things in looking for others. My sister ran across some gifts she had for us that she must have forgotten about. That was tough. And there are some letters to us that she wrote in a journal I bought her once that I thought she threw away. I didn’t have the courage to read those yet. Maybe when we go back at Thanksgiving.
I miss her already.
She was my last surviving grandparent. And that makes it hard too because, of course, I realize my parents will be next to go. And that is not something I can allow myself to prepare for at all.
I am glad that when her life ended, it was quick. And that my brother didn’t have to witness any long-drawn-out suffering. And that we all made it through the service and the whole ordeal intact.