I know it's a pretty big statement, and I'll admit that I'm totally biased, but what you are looking at is possibly one of the greatest, coolest women who has ever walked this blue and green orb. What you have here, is my Grandma!
I kicked around long and hard whether or not I wanted to write this. You see, when it comes down to serious issues, I usually am quite introverted. I don't like to share much about my family, or personal life. I pretty much keep the blog to biking, I don't have pictures of my kids on facebook, I'm even a bit cryptic about the things I write, generally. So I mentioned to my wife that I thought I wanted to write something about my gram, and she insisted it would be a great idea. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it, so here goes.
There is a reason that I have been kinda off the map for the last week, I haven't really had it in me to be funny or cheerful. You see, a week ago this past Wednesday I found out that my grandmother had taken I'll. She come down with Pneumonia, and had to be hospitalized. For the average person this is a setback. To grandma, a spry woman of 97 years, it is potentially fatal. I knew this was the case, I was not going to deny that. The first day or two were bad, not horrible, but bad. The third day was just plain awful. I talked to my mom who was with her out of town, and she was extremely cryptic (wonder where I get it from) about what she said. She was careful to ask, "where are you right now?" My answer of, "what does it matter? How's grandma?" Was what she had been fishing for. She asked if I was in the car, I told her I was and the conversation shut down. When I got home, almost the first thing out of my mouth was that I thought grandma was not well. "Ma won't say anything about how she is, so it can't be good."
The following day, Saturday, and the rest of the weekend were pretty good. In true fashion for grandma she took a positive turn. You see, I would swear the woman is bulletproof! Through various bouts with illness including pneumonia, cancer, and Lord only knows what else, she had always pulled through. In some ways, some times, it seemed like she was better each time. So I was pretty convinced that she would likely pull through again. But this time would be different.
Early that week, she took another turn for the worse. The doctors did what they could, and then she went to Hospice. Quick Sidebar: I cannot begin to say enough good things about Hospice. I thoroughly encourage you to support your local, and national, Hospice organizations. The Doctors and Nurses who work with hospice are angels! Through my fathers ordeal with cancer, now my grandmother, other family members, friends... I just can't say enough good. She would go into hospice late Tuesday afternoon, and would pass on Wednesday afternoon. I couldn't be there, as she is out of state and there was not time and resources to do so, but from what I am told it was the most peaceful way one could ever want to go. One of my cousins said it best, "once more she's shown us all how it's done. She went out on her own terms. We're so lucky to have called her our grandmother."
She was truly amazing in every way. My father left my mother in my early childhood. My grandmother and grandfather were here every summer raising me. Not that they had to. They could've said no, my mom could have found a babysitter, and that would have been fine. That was just the kind of people they were, the kind of person she was. She gave, and gave, and gave, and all she asked in return was that I "be a good boy." Sometimes I was and, admittedly, sometimes I was not. When I realized the err of my ways, she was always there, waiting, willing to let me find the right way on my own, and encouraging me once I had. She taught me self sufficiency and, my favorite of all, how to cook. She sat the grandkids on her lap, or gathered them around sharing stories of times before there were cars, when they had iceboxes that were iceboxes, when they got their first TV, the ever so many cool things that a 97 year old would see in their lifetime.
Now, she has gone home. She has gone to be with the Father, her husband, her dad, mom, some of her sisters who have gone, and all of those that have gone before her. The world has, in my humble opinion, lost a saint of sorts. The Heavens, they've gained and angel. I wanted to write this, mainly, in hopes that someday my kids will see it. That they'll remember the good times with grandma. That they'll ask for elaborations of these stories, and that her memory will never die.
She was loved, and will be greatly, and deeply missed.
5 months ago