Monday, April 18, 2011

The Best and The Regrets

Warning: emotional post ahead. Steer clear if you are PMS.
Some of my sweetest and most precious memories of my Grammie are from right before she passed away. Right after my grandpa passed away my grandma's health started declining.  I moved some of my things over there and started living with her so I could help her with whatever she needed.  It started out with just helping clean or organize my grandpa's stuff, but eventually it turned into helping her with everything.  Her legs stopped working and she needed help walking so each night I would wake her up a couple of times and take her to the bathroom.  After I got her settled back in bed I would scratch her back and we would talk for a little bit until she fell back asleep. I think my favorite memory was one night when I was scratching her back and she turned her head to me and said, "You are such an angel. You are my angel." Having someone like that call you an angel is (I think) the absolute highest compliment you can receive.
I remember one night she woke up because she had a dream that a stranger was in her bed.  When she opened her eyes, she didn't realize that the someone in her bed was me so she tried to sneak out of bed.  She tripped and fell and gave me the scare of my life. Literally. My heart pounded long after she got settled back in bed.  Do you know how hard it is to fall asleep adrenaline pumping through your system??
Staying with her, I watched her health continue to decline.  She was eventually bedridden so we would lay there and talk until she was too tired to keep talking.  I would read a book and she would sleep.  Eventually, someone came and took over for me.  My mom and my aunt stayed with her, my grandma's sisters came to stay with her, and friends and neighbors were always wanting to stop by and say hi. Before I went to work everyday I would try and stop in and see how my little patient was doing.
Each day she became more tired and each day I became more and more emotionally unstable (because I wasn't already).   On Saturday, February 19th, I went to work without stopping by in the morning.  Towards the end of my shift I received a text that said she had passed away.  I lost it right then and there at work. I'm sure that was a sight to behold.  I raced home to be with my family (95 mph down the freeway- no joke).  The second I walked in the door my mom took me in her arms and she just let me cry. And believe me when I say I cried!
Not being with my grandma at her passing is the biggest regret of my life, but my most cherished memories are of the weeks prior to her death. We shared some of the best moments together and we had a few good laughs.  That woman was a hoot!  My favorite Grammie quote is thusly:
Me: "Gram, what do you think of when I say Top Gun?"
Gram: "My dreamboat Tom Cruise"
I know that I will see her again someday and I cannot wait for that day.  Until then I have memories to tide me over.  I love my Grammie and Grampie and while they are both gone from this earth, I would be willing to bet that they are up in Heaven discussing (read: plotting) their next move.  Love and miss them both!


Bri said...

Oh wow. I'm crying. At work. Awesome. If someone asks what's wrong, I'm going to tell them I just rubbed my eyes really hard.

Seriously though, this is so sweet. What great memories you have of her last days. You are so good with your words and this is one of my favorite posts.

TJ said...

I've really been missing Grammie today. This did and didn't help. But I share with you those regrets, as well as those precious moments at the end. I love you so much for your sacrifice in her behalf.

Laina's Corner said...

I just stumbled across your blog and read this post. How beautiful and courageous for sharing this. Thank you.

Yuki said...

you are an angel. And your grammie was an angel. She is the sweetest per on I've ever known.

Joliene said...

Thank you for this. They will be missed. Grammie's light is a huge loss, but I'm sure she shines even more brightly where she is now. Her life's ripples will continue to touch us every day.

I'm sorry that you didn't get to be with her in her last moments. We don't know the world the way that God does and we can only ever act on what we have to deal with. I suppose that's why we say, "It's the thought that counts." While you don't feel like you were with her, I'm sure you were in her mind and heart as she moved on. In that sense, I don't think you ever left her side.

Jae said...

You warned me..but it still made me cry. I want to print everyone's blog and put them in the book I want to make about Gram and Gramp. This is the sweetest story! You are so lucky to have these sweet memories. Thanks for taking such good care of my mom. Love you bunches!! A.J.

Unknown said...

I am very impressed with what you shared. I hope that you will write down more memories of your Grammie. Aunt Billie and I were there just before she passed. It helped Aunt Billie with closer. I plan to share this with her. You will be a blessed angel forever for all that you did for her.