We said good-bye to my grandmother last week. She was the last of my "Grand" set to go.
Her passing has put me in a somewhat reflective mood.
I say reflective, but that makes it sound like I'm sitting serenely on my grand Mississippi porch, listening to the whippoorwills in the willows and sipping on a mint julep. It would be closer to the truth to say my train of thought went way too fast, jumped track after track, and finally derailed in a heap of tears and smeared mascara.
Track 1: Grandma isn't going to make it. I'm nine hours away. I want and need to be with my family. But when? Should I go now and see grandma even if she doesn't know I'm there? Or should I wait and go after?
Track 2: God is in control. Joey can get a week off. We'll go now. If grandma lives the week, Praise God! If not, we'll be there for the funeral.
Track 3: How will I explain to the girls - who have been praying for weeks and making get well cards - that grandma isn't going to get better this time?
Track 4: Who is this frail woman I'm seeing? I don't recognize her at all! Non-responsive, no food or water for days. She's wasting away!
Track 5: Paddy, aunt S and cousins K and K are exhausted. They've been so careful to make sure that grandma is never alone. Thank you God for allowing us to come when we did. I'm glad to give them a little relief. And I find I love the quiet nights staying up with grandma. Just sweet memories for company.
Track 6: WHY!! Why God? It's been a week with no nourishment! If you are going to take her, what could possibly be the reason for allowing her to hold on like this? It's no good to her and it's agony for the family!
Track 7: Forgive me God. I remember Job and have no desire to hear your voice asking " where were you...?" It's not my place to ask why. Help me to trust your timing.
Track 8: What a wonderful couple of hours! Sitting at Hospice with Joey, and J and K and the other J and K! We've never all been together like that. It was wonderful sitting around grandma's bed and talking, laughing, and sharing stories. There's nothing like family.
Track 9: It's been days and days. Maddie wants to see grandma. Shelby does not. People are different. We each handle sadness in our own way. They'll never recognize her. Should I take them?
Track 10: It's been eleven days with no IV, fluids, or food. She slips away quietly. All family is there around her bed. Thank God this is over for her.
These were the thoughts that went through my head - some of them over and over, for days. Five times that I know of, the family was called in to say goodbye. And five times, grandma's breathing regulated and she pulled through all on her own. We had all kissed her and bid farewell so many times, that when she really did go I think peace rather than grief was the overwhelming emotion.
I did have one crazy emotional day when I broke down and just sobbed. We were away when the other "grands" passed and I didn't have days and days to say all that I wanted to them before they left. This last grandma had the whole of my pent up emotions spilled out. It was the end of a generation. And I am so thankful for every year I was given with them. There lifes journey is over.