We laid my beautiful grandmother to rest the day before Thanksgiving. She was my favorite, my place to spend the night when I was little, a phone call every week, a kiss and love you every departure. She hadn’t been able to speak for a while because of Parkinson’s, such a horrible disease. My grandad took care of her until the very end, after 67 years of marriage, never leaving her side. She wanted to be buried in a light green dress and for once, my love of shopping did something wonderful and found the perfect one. She was my last grandma, my favorite grandma, and the sweetest, most loving Christian lady you’d ever meet.
Watching someone die is a painful and draining process. It’s something I’ve never experienced, but leaves so many feelings on your heart and mind. My grandmother has been fighting this disease for a while, but always came back from any bumps in the road. This time, she got in the bed and stayed there. It was a whole week of holding her hand, being with her, telling her stories, kisses on her forehead. My mother and grandfather were there for every moment, I visited two days during that time and the emotional impact was much more than I’d ever imagined it would be. The whole family came – the children, grandchildren, cousins, aunts, uncles, we were all there. That time was so special, as we knew why we were there, but it was unspoken.
My grandfather, oh where to start. The most amazing man you’ll ever meet. Tough as nails, but full of love. She was his sweetheart, and the Wednesday before she died, we were talking and he said “People ask me how I do everything for her, and I just respond, well, I know if it were the other way around, she’d do it for me too.” ALL THE TEARS.
I’ll leave here with something my cousin wrote about the passing, and the days after, and something that I could never put into words as well as she did – she nailed it. Yes, this is the kind of family I understand.
“I’ll never understand families that fight over possessions or fall out over finances when someone dies. Tonight while we were sitting around filling out thank you notes, my granddaddy came upstairs with my grandmama’s last will and testament. With tears in his eyes he read it to us, choking up each time he read “her beloved husband.” With tears in our eyes, we listened to the love in his voice and craned our necks to gaze at her beautiful signature. That’s the kind of family I understand, and for that I am eternally grateful.”