Friday, January 2, 2015

"Ok, Grandma..."

I drove from Jacksonville, Florida to Norman, Oklahoma to see my grandma. It was one of the worst drives I've ever experienced! I hadn't even gone 40 miles before I was completely stopped in traffic for a good 2 hours. The panhandle of Florida seemed to go on and on forever, and I felt like I was in the twilight zone driving and driving and getting no where. Alabama and Mississippi were quick states to drive through and so I felt a wave of relief and a new burst of energy! Louisiana took so long to drive through...only 55 miles per hour speed limit most of the state, no gas stations for hours it seemed, and no sign of civilization for was another twilight zone kind of feeling. By the time I was ready to stop for the night, it was another long stretch of nothing before finally arriving in an actual town and getting a room. But as exhausted as I was I just couldn't get to sleep, and 5 hours later I was back on the road. The Dallas/Ft. Worth area was a complete and total nightmare! Normally, coming home to see my family is an exciting and happy time. But the closer I got the sadder I got...I knew I was on my way to say goodbye, and my heart was crumbling.

I finally got to my grandma's place and knelt beside her recliner. The nurse had just given her morphine and she was slumped forward with her head hanging. I held her hand and started talking to her about my drive, and I told her that I had been missing her...told her I loved her. I told her that Dallas was a shit show, and I tried to be funny about the morphine making her drowsy. She opened her eyes for a moment, and I believe that was when she realized I was there beside her, and she closed them and breathed out like a sigh of relief. I was about to suggest reclining her chair so that she could maybe feel more comfortable, but in just a few ticks of time she opened her eyes and her soul left her earthly body while I was still holding her hand. The nurse checked her pulse and listened for a heartbeat before turning to us and saying, "she's gone." I stood and stared in disbelief with my hands over my mouth and the tears rising, pooling, and spilling from my eyes...I walked away so my mama and her sisters could be next to her. And I knelt and sobbed saying "no, no, no, no" over and over..."no, no, no, no..." I went outside and fell to my knees again with my eyes toward the sky praying to God, "please take care of my grandma and please help us to feel peace knowing that she's at peace."

Time slowed so much it felt like it wasn't even felt like hours just sitting and crying and praying in grandma's apartment...her body leaned back in the chair like she was only sleeping. Everyone left and my sister and I stepped outside when the people came to take her...

She looked more alive and well lying there in her casket than she did in those last few weeks of  her life. My only thoughts were that she should just wake up...she's going to open her eyes...she's only sleeping. At the family visitation time, at the funeral, and all the way up until they closed her casket for the very last time, I kept thinking that she should just wake up...just wake up, Grandma...

I stayed in the townhouse where she and Zac lived until the end of December. I wrapped gifts and spoke aloud to her...I even sang to her...I talked to her and made comments about everyday things. Every time I came down the stairs in the morning, my heart sunk not seeing her in the recliner drinking her coffee. Every time I walked through the front door, I'd feel disappointment that she wasn't there waiting. A picture of the two of us is on my locked screen of my cell phone, so I've seen her face every day. I've gone more than a week and sometimes longer without feeling the loss, and then at the most random times it washes over me and I am overwhelmed with my grief. She is gone. But it still feels like she is here. And so it is a constant feeling of confusion, denial, and let down. I miss my grandma.

I started writing this a couple of weeks or so ago. I had more to say when I began. I still want to share more about my grandma, traits and quirks not everyone may know...the different sides of her I feel so blessed to have known. She was an incredible person...more remarkable than I think most people realized! I could write it all out now, like a tribute...but the thought alone is a wrench to my heart and soul! Instead I will share all that made up my grandma in pieces here and who she was and what she taught me and what I learned from observation of her has affected and will continue to affect my life.

What I've learned, observed, and known about my grandma will be shared in no particular order...I couldn't even begin to organize them all chronologically! So...Grandma's first lesson: toughen up! There is much to be elaborated on about it, but for now and in this moment, this is what I know. Grandma would tell me to be stronger now. She would understand the loss I feel, but from her practical point of view she would advise me to start thinking about the future. Time to think about driving back to Florida; time to work on your resume and have it ready for the job hunt; time to get back to your daily routines. She would say, "Listen to Grandma!" and I would very stubbornly reply, "OK, Grandma!"

Time to toughen up. Okay, grandma...

Thank you for the patience in my absence dear ones, and as always,
Hugs and love, my lovelies!

Flowers for Grandma


  1. Oh, Amy. I'm so sorry for your loss. I watched as you worked so hard to get to your grandma's side. You did, and you saw her and she saw you. This is so hard.

    Here's what I know...she is so proud of you!! Never forget that.

    I love you

    1. Thank you, Swish! :) I will never forget! Love you too!