|grandma with Audra, Spring 2013|
Last Tuesday my dad called to tell me that grandma (92) had taken a fall and was on her way to the hospital. A couple of hours later I went to see her. Beautiful, sweet grandma, all wrinkled loveliness and still smiling. She was in the ER, alert and chatty. Her sense of humor was fully intact. My aunt, a cousin, my dad and my grandpa were there.
She said several times from her hospital bed, "I love my kids. And my grand-kids. And my great-grandkids. I just love 'em all." It goes without saying that she loved grandpa best. You can't spent a minute in their company without seeing it for yourself.
Grandpa sat still on a hard, uncomfortable chair by her bedside. He shared how grandma had slipped off the end of their bed while she was getting dressed, and he wasn't able to help her back up, so he'd called the medics. My frail little grandma joked, "It took SIX of them to carry me, I was so heavy!"-- and when the medics had her all settled and drove away, grandpa got into their car and drove to the hospital.
He looked so alone sitting there on that chair, though he was surrounded by family. It struck me that I rarely saw them apart- they were almost always side by side. He sat quietly and steadily, back straight, feet apart, resting his arms on his legs and looking at his hands. Folding and refolding his hands. I was watching grandma, and every so often she'd look over at grandpa, wait until he looked up at her, and hold his glance with a little tuck of her head and a smile- as if to reassure him. Oh, how they loved each other! Their marriage is the sweetest one I've had the privilege to witness.
Mom went up to visit her on Wednesday-- all these years later after the divorce and mom still calls her mom. Grandma always made her feel so loved and welcomed. It was a hard day for grandma. I had planned to have the kids draw pictures and take them in to see her, but mom said she was in so much pain that I probably shouldn't. So we stayed put.
Thursday Mark stopped in from his route. By then they had figured out her medication and she was loopy and silly. :)
Thursday evening I went again-- and she was slipping away: sleeping most of the time and not very alert when her eyes were open.
Sunday morning, early- she died. She was 92.
She had been talking about heaven ever since she arrived at the hospital. Somehow she knew it was her time to go and she welcomed it.
Sunday morning in church we sang the song Open the Eyes of My Heart, and when I got to the line, "Holy, holy, holy... I want to see You" I could not even sing the words for the lump in the back of my throat. I could only think of grandma- who was now able to SEE HIM (!) in all His glory and holiness. What joy!
I've been writing down my memories of grandma ever since I knew she was slipping away. I'll be posting those recollections here on the blog.