Friday, May 18, 2012

Love You Grandma

We visited my 92 year old grandmother about a month or so ago. It was one of those grown up visits. You know, the kind where you are aware that the near future may not be what you would choose but what will happen regardless. My grandmother has not been well for a little while now. When we visited her in November, my husband, son and I witnessed my grandmother go from very weak but pretty lucid in her home hospital bed to talking toward the wall to my sister who had not been able to make the trip with us that weekend. Grandma started reaching for someone, then she started cradling a baby that did not exist. Then the ambulance arrived to take her to the nursing home. This wasn't an activity that had been planned for that weekend. Grandma had hoped to never go to a nursing home. Grandma stayed in that same nursing home, never to return home to live again with her 95 year old sister, Aunt Edna Mae.


I went to visit Grandma on this particular weekend recently because I understood she was declining further. I was lucky enough to have visited with her about 6 weeks earlier, also. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to dash to the next state on a Saturday evening in order to spend a couple of precious hours with Grandma. Once we walked into her room, the look on her face was one of total surprise and joy. She was so lonely. It was obvious that she was hanging onto our every word during that visit.

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Matt loves his great Grandma.

Before we went into Grandma's room that day, I had to decide how I was going to participate in this visit. Should I try to cover all the stories I ever wanted to hear from Grandma? Should I try to make this the most memorable visit ever for both of us? Or should I enjoy every word, expression and hug and let our time go however it goes? Number Three

Grandma was in good spirits. She led most of the conversations. We talked of my late Grandfather. Grandma told us again as she always has that Granddaddy loved us all so much. There was never a question in my mind that Granddaddy loved us. Never. We talked about the swingset he put up in their backyard just for us when we were so little. I remember sitting on one of the swings while singing "I Want To Bite Your Hand," by that new group The Beatles. Okay, so you may remember the title being "I Want HOLD Your Hand." (I was about 4 years old.) I also remember how black and rich smelling the dirt was near the swingset in Grandma and Granddaddy's back yard. And I remember Grandma hanging clothes out on the line in that backyard. I wanted to do that with her but I couldn't reach the line.

Grandma, do you remember when you asked us what we wanted on a pizza and I asked for anchovies? I didn't know exactly what anchovies were, but I had heard about them on a cartoon. When we got the pizza, those anchovies were the hairiest, saltiest things I had ever seen on a pizza. Grandma, do you remember how Granddaddy would let us "style" his hair over and over? He would quietly sit there and smile while we created a new look for him. Grandma, I remember the stories you used to tell us about your pig named Judy Marie. I had forgotten about Judy Marie until one of our recent visits with you. Grandma, I have always loved your stories. And I will never forget them.

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Grandma passed away in the early morning of May 4, 2012 - two weeks ago. Her memorial service is in a week. I look forward to celebrating her, but I don't look forward to missing her. That little 4 year old Teri is still having too much fun with Grandma and Granddaddy.

Damn.

GrandmaGrandaddy older retouched

Grandma and Granddaddy way before I was born.

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Grandma enjoying a dip in the pool.  She must have been on vacation.  Probably stayed at the Howard Johnson.

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That's the smile I will never forget.  Ever.

3 comments:

Green Girl in Wisconsin

What a gorgeous woman--and fab smile!
I bet you're so glad you made the effort to see her often.

TeresaR

Your grandmother looked really great even close to the end. You are lucky to have so many wonderful memories of your grandmother! I have some of mine too, but since we immigrated from Hong Kong when I was only 8, I never grew up with mine, which makes me sad.

My condolences to you and your family.

Hugs!

septembermom

So sorry for your loss. What a beautiful lady :)

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