Friday, August 14, 2009

A Farewell

I would like to talk about my grandmother today.
She was a wonderful grandmother, always stopping by to visit us and bringing fruit and Fig Newton cookies. Christmas was always a special occasion. Grandma worked at the Hilltop Restaurant in Ruthven nearby...long gone now with a bowling alley in its place. Christmas Eve, Grandma waitressed, and we would get in the car, drive to the Hilltop and wait for Grandma to finish work so she could come to our house and spend the night.
Christmas Day, we would wake up and head downstairs to the living room, be warned by our parents not to wake Grandma up, and hear Grandma's quiet voice say "It's all right, I'm awake", then rush into the living room.
Growing up, if you've read my blog before, at times was difficult, and there were a couple occasions when Grandma was there for me when I needed someone. One time in particular, I can't remember just what it was, but I remember calling Grandma from a payphone across town, crying, and she came for me.

Several months ago, it was suspected that Grandma had breast cancer. At 87, with her health not good, and a frail body, it was decided not to send her for a biopsy to be 100% certain. The biopsy would be too hard on Grandma, and if surgery was needed, she would never have survived it. It was also decided then to keep her as comfortable and pain free as they could.
I saw Grandma the day before she passed, belligerent as she was when the pain medication started to wear off. The fire in her eyes when she turned to me and said "I said NO" very adamantly will last for some time. The belligerence was easy to take, though.
It was the "I don't want to be like this", the quiet "I wish everyone would just let me go", which we took at the time to mean she didn't want to be fussed over, but afterward...well I guess sometimes you look for deeper meanings. When I leaned over to kiss her before leaving, she whispered to me "You're so good", I think those are the last words I heard Grandma say.

Wednesday morning, I had just stepped out of the shower and was only half dry, planning to visit Grandma once again when The Phone Call came. I tied wet hair back in a pony tail, dressed quickly, and was there in minutes. Grandma was visibly unresponsive, but occasionally, a slight frown between her eyes, a movement of her mouth, even feeling her finger twitch while I held her hand, I am sure she was aware that we were all there.
My aunts, my mother and I were all surrounding her as she went at last where she'd been asking to go for some time: home.
I love you, Grandma.

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