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Monday, August 29, 2005

The grieving process

Last Wednesday was one that will be in my mind forever. Being so very close to my grandmother and losing her has changed my life.

We were supposed to go out to dinner with Aaron's family for our birthdays. I got home from work and Aaron called and said he was on his way home, but wanted to tell me that he talked to my mom and that Grandma was in the hospital. Nobody knew why, my dad had been there all day with her and hadn't called with an update. They decided not to tell me until I got home so they knew I actually made it home. (I probably would have gotten into an accident for all my tears)

I called my mom at that point and nobody thought too much of the situation. So we decided to head to dinner and if she was still in the hospital after, we would have went up to see her. Just as soon as we reached the highway, I told Aaron to turn around, I didn't think it would be a good idea to go. We went to my Mom's house and picked her up and headed to the hospital. 30 seconds away we received a call from my dad asking where we were, to hurry up. I lost my breath and couldn't speak. Couldn't even dial the phone to call my brothers to tell them to hurry. Grandma had taken a turn for the worse. She had had 2 heart attacks and had been saying all day she was waiting for the big one.

Aaron parked the car while my mom and I ran in, I wasn't preppared at all for what I was about to see.

There in the ICU was my Grandma hooked up to so many machines, and she looked so small that she nearly was hidden in the hospital bed. Her eyes were closed, at this point she wasn't coherent. I grabbed her had and said, "Grandma, we're here, mom and I are here." Beeping everywhere, there wasn't a machine that didn't go crazy. She knew I was there with my mom. I told her to relax and stroked her hair, she would cough and make the machines beep, but still I thought she'd be ok.

This continued into the evening, and then eventually she opened her eyes. At that point, all of her kids and many of her grandkids had made it to the hospital in time to say goodbye, just in case this was the last time we would be able to. It was.

The conversation Aaron and I had with my grandma was one that I will likely never forget. We told her we loved her and it was her turn to watch over us in Heaven, that Grandpa needed a break from it, we told her to take care of us all, and she nodded her head that she would. She couldn't talk, but kept trying to. The tubes in her throat prevented it. At the end of the night, she could open her eyes, and move her hands. I was never far from the room and before they strapped her hands down, I was outside the room and looked in to make the sign for "I love You." She lifted her weak arm and waved her hand at me. Aaron and I asked her if she had talked to God tonight, she nodded, we asked if she was hurting, she nodded, we asked if she would talk to God and ask him to bless our marraige with healthy children. She nodded, and tears ran down her face.

At about 2am my parents got a call that said she was slipping. At 4:33am Aaron and I got a call from my parents saying she had passed away. I knew as soon as the phone rang what had happened, even before Aaron looked over at me and said, "She's gone."

The ironic part of the whole thing was that Grandma ALWAYS told us never to use any extreme measures to keep her alive. Well, when she arrived at the hospital my dad never got a chance to tell the nurse that because everything happened so fast, so she was put on a respirator. Otherwise, she would have been gone as soon as she arrived at the hospital.

Thursday morning we went to grandma's house and sort of sat there numb. I never prepared myself for losing her. She would have been 90 years old on Spetember the 11th. She also said she never wanted to make it to 90. Guess she won that bet.

Ever since I was little, before we would leave after our Sunday visit, I would always sneak into Grandma's kitchen to write a note on her pad so she would find it later. I wrote my last letter to her that night and stuck it in her memory box in her casket. Aaron stuck a wirenut inside as the first thing he did for Grandma was electrical work. I was also put in charge of creating her memory boards, and it was truly an honor. I was always fascinated by how many pictures Grandma had, everytime I went over to visit. There was always some new photo we had never seen.

Aaron and I always took her her simple pleasures. Whether it was pizza and beer, fresh fruit, popcorn and a movie, or the last treat we brought, Klondike bars. Grandma never drove a day in her life so it was up to us to check in on her and take care of her like she did her 6 children.

Helping to plan her funeral was one of the hardest things I've ever been through. The viewing was Friday night, an amazing amount of people showed up, friends, family members, and coworkers. Saturday it rained, but it was fitting because Grandma loved the rain, especially on her face. We buried our grandma on Saturday, shoveled some earth on her gravesite and threw, as a family, flowers on her grave. She will be forever missed.

We love and miss you Grandma, may you dwell in your final resting place in peace, in the House of the Lord.


  • At 6:40 PM, Blogger Shannin said…

    "Though the voice is quiet, the spirit echos still."

    I am so sorry. You wrote a beautiful post, and I'm sure she is looking down upon you proudly.

  • At 11:37 PM, Blogger Thumper said…

    I am *so* glad you got to see her first. And had the chance to tell her you love her. That's something to hold onto forever.

  • At 8:57 AM, Blogger Dazed said…

    Oh Rebecca, I'm so sorry for the loss of your grandmother.
    I know she'll be looking out for the two of you from now on.

  • At 1:40 PM, Blogger Rebecca said…

    Im sorry, but Im glad you got to say your goodbyes.

  • At 3:59 PM, Blogger Audree said…

    dear rebecca,

    i am deeply sorry for your loss. as i read your entry, a lone tear trickled down my cheek.

    we're about a month apart in age and i lost my brother not too long ago in a horrific accident. i was not able to say goodbye. cherish the fact that you did.

    ps- i have mentioned it before, but i have pcos as well. my doc didn't prescribe a diet for me, but i started taking glucophage/metformin. i've become a vegeterian about 1.5 years ago, because i realised that animal fat was the biggest culprit relation to weight gain in my diet. anyway, i also upped my physical activity and have lost 30 lbs. since january.

    hang in there.

  • At 7:49 PM, Blogger lainb said…

    this post brought me to tears. it's such a blessing that your grandma was able to leave this world with a final "goodbye" to her children & grandchildren though...too many people pass without having a chance to say goodbye. she's in a MUCH better place now and she'll enjoy watching out for everyone. ((hugs))

  • At 11:44 AM, Blogger bek said…

    rebecca, that was beautiful. bless you and your family.

  • At 7:27 PM, Blogger Denise said…

    What a beautiful tribute!

  • At 1:14 PM, Blogger girl from florida said…

    I have tears in my eyes now. What an amazing, beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman. You are so blessed to have been able to say goodbye to her and that you love her. I would have given anything to have been able to say goodbye to my grandfather before he died of a heart attack at 65. Just know Grandma is watching over you now, and she was very blessed to have you as a grandaughter.


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