To my great surprise, I went quickly back to sleep.
|Grandma, my mom, my aunt, Kelsey and me. Christmas, 1991. Too bad we don't all look alike.|
I'm convinced I almost had this baby on Friday. My contractions started Friday night around 8:30 or 9, largely due to this text message from my aunt: Grandma's in the hospital. I'm headed there now. It doesn't look good. Call you when I know more.
|Grandma and Leah. April, 2010|
Her heart had stopped.
Though my grandpa called the EMT's, who were able to restart her heart, she'd been under a long time. There was concern that she would have little or no brain function - if they were even able to bring her back. And, anyway, a little over two years ago she received a terminal diagnosis and was given 6 months to live. Six months ago, that degenerative disorder finally reached a point of no return. Though she still had her life and wasn't yet forced into hospice or a nursing home, it was really only a matter of time. Even if she did come back, what would she be coming back to?
I cried a lot. And contracted perhaps even more.
|I adore this photo. Even if Leah is screaming. Four generations of women - April 2010.|
And prayed, mostly that the Lord in His mercy would take her just as she was. That He would reach down out of Heaven and let her burdens be relieved. That in His grace, she would not have to suffer a slow and gradual descent into death, but would simply enter into glory on a day no one expected, with all signs of still being herself in-tact.
|Mother's Day, 2012|
It's no fun to pray that your grandma would die. It doesn't sit well with the soul, though I was (and am still) convinced it was the best possible scenario. My great fear about my grandma's death hasn't been that she would die, but that she would live so long she'd no longer be herself. She would no longer be able to sit outside under the grapefruit tree or stockpile wonderful flavors of homemade jam or send nasty e-mails about a new breed of pepper that looks like a penis. That she wouldn't be able to drive to Seattle to make sure her grandkids' lives were just a little bit easier.
You see, she's a pretty awesome lady, my grandma.
Selfless. Kind. So, so wise and loving.
She has been the most incredible role model to her family. Grace through tragedy. Perseverance in the face of pain. How to live a Godly, Christ-centered life. Kindness, love and mercy.
She buried two of her (adult) babies. She helped hold her grandkids together. She was always, always there when we needed her, even though she lived in other states throughout our lives. She watched me at baseball games and swim meets and came to musicals and saw me graduate. She watched me get married and have babies. She cried with me when I lost mine. I couldn't love her any more.
I have so many wonderful memories of Christmases at her house and exploring the woods and driving the golf cart. Her house always smelled like freshly baked bread; I recall it every time I make bread in the machine she gave me.
We are so, so lucky and blessed to have had her in our lives. To have watched her live and had the chance to listen to her lessons. To have laughed with her. To have received her comfort in times of sorrow.
|The last picture I have with her, taken on her 83rd birthday. February, 2014|
Today, she went to be with Jesus. And, though I have cried a lot and my heart has been heavy, because I love her, I am so very glad.
I love you, Grandma. I am privileged to have shared in your life. I'll see you in Paradise.