Sunday, August 22, 2010

Goodbye Grandmother

I wasn't going to write today. But then I got the call. Tomorrow we are starting Emma's two weeks of "review" before we officially start first grade, a new resident is moving in, and I was tired just thinking of all that needed to be accomplished. All I wanted to do was go to bed.But then I got the call. My little girls were being whiny, and I was beginning to snap at them. But then I got the call. And everything changed.

My Grandmother passed away tonight a six o'clock in the evening. Just 43 days after my Grandpa's passing. They were married for 68 years, I believe. Grandma had been sick for the past couple of weeks with bronchitis and she was having some issues with her diabetes, but we were not expecting this. Perhaps without Grandpa, she just didn't desire to fight any longer. Thankfully my Mom was with her when it happened, and she was not alone.

What to say about Grandma? When she was young, she was beautiful. They both were. She had raven black hair before it faded to grey, and then to white. Her physical appearance changed over the years, as most of ours do, and the Grandma I knew was always a large woman. Her skin was brown and wrinkly from the sun. She used to love being in the water, and growing up they always had a swimming pool in their back yard. When I was younger she was a stern woman, but she softened after her daughter, my aunt, passed away in 1990. I never saw her shed any tears. Not when my aunt died, nor my grandfather. My mom saw her cry once in her entire lifetime. Grandma was very matter of fact. At one point several years ago, after a recent stay in the hospital, she announced with a smile on her face, "I just keep on living!". And that she did. She loved crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, reading, and Wheel of Fortune. Every Christmas she used to make Aunt Bill's Brown candy and Divinity. She had a hearty laugh.

My grandparents met while they were in the service. Grandpa was in the Air Force, and Grandma was some sort of paramedic, I think. They lived in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. They had three children, five grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. While we all knew that they loved their family deeply, to be honest, my grandparents were never very affectionate with one another. There was never hand holding or smooching that I can remember. They shared separate bedrooms because Grandpa snored quite loudly and Grandma was a restless sleeper. I always knew they "loved" each other, but I never witnessed it. Until the day of Grandpa's viewing. The viewing hours were coming to an end and everyone was filing out of the sanctuary. Only a few family members were left. Ben and I were standing up at the front near the casket. We watched Grandma get up and walk slowly over to Grandpa. Gently she patted his hand and said, "Sleep well. I will check on you one last time in the morning." And then she turned and there was a love in her eyes that I had never seen before. She loved my Grandpa. She had checked on him in the mornings for 68 years, and the next day she would do it for the very last time before they lowered him into the ground. It was a beautiful sight and I am so very glad that I witnessed it. And now six weeks later, she is gone too. I believe that is how it was meant to be.

It is strange knowing that I no longer have any living grandparents on this earth. It's the circle of life, I suppose. He gives and He takes away. Each moment matters. Each day. Each life. So tonight, I wrote. I hugged my girls, kissed my sweet baby's round head, and snuggled with Boss on the sofa. And if the Lord wills, I will get to check on and love each of them again in the morning. Goodbye, Grandmother. Now you can check on Grandpa for eternity. You will be missed.

Edited to add: I checked with Mom today about my grandparents years of marriage and their roles in the service, because I was not exactly sure of the details. Turns out they were married for right around 67 years, and Grandma was not a paramedic in the service after all. I assumed that because of all of her years in the Red Cross, but it turns out that she was actually an electrician of bomber plains! You go, Grandma! You rocked.

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