Wednesday, March 20, 2013

the loss of our matriarch

last thursday morning, march 14th, i heard from my momma that my grandma had passed away, peacefully and with two of her girls by her side. call me naive, but while i knew she had been sick (and was in her mid-80s), i apparently didn't understand the gravity of the situation. i had selfishly hoped she would hang on until the end of the year. i had imagined my family moving back to oregon and taking at least a couple road trips up to visit her and grandpa after my bubs were born and spending one last thanksgiving with the family like i had almost every year growing up. sadly, none of that happened. but thankfully, she is no longer in pain or discomfort and is up in heaven helping take care of my sweet sofia.

today was her funeral. pregnancy, toddler-hood, husband's work schedule and finances kept me grounded in southern california while much of the family gathered together in central washington to celebrate her life and mourn our loss. i couldn't be there in person, but i was certainly there in spirit. none of them have been far from my mind all week, but especially today.

as i think about my grandma's life and her passing, i'm continually astounded by the number of people affected by this loss. most obviously, my grandpa. they had been married 67 years (wow!). i can't even imagine having my husband of 4.5 years taken away from me and what i would do, let alone after living together and loving one another for 67 years! last november(ish?) he was moved from the house to a memory assistance facility as he is struggling with alzheimers/dementia and she visited him all the time. so now, not only does he no longer have a home to come and visit, he no longer has his partner to come and visit him. in addition, in the last few months as grandma has been sick, my uncle, aunts and mom have been around to help a lot...thus able to visit grandpa with relative frequency too. this will be greatly reduced as well.

then there are her kids - my uncle, two aunts and my mom. they have all been such rocks during all the transition and illness in the past half a year or so...putting their lives on hold at times to go and help their parents. i'm so glad that they are such amazing human beings who all get along and work together, especially when times are rough. and now...their momma is in heaven. i know they are grown and i know she was old, but that still can't be an easy thing to swallow.

and the grandkids...some of us are grown and building families of our own. we are old enough to have many, many great memories of visiting grandma's house and getting to know her. some are a little younger and will not perhaps remember as much as we can. and what about the great grandkids who are younger yet and those yet to be born who will never have the opportunity to meet, know and love her?

and of course her community, her church and her friends. she was so involved and has touched so very many people.

it is absolutely amazing (and beautiful, really) how many people one woman's life can affect. makes me want to be a better person myself.

so...while i pondered all the above and reflected back on my memories, a few things really stood out to me. things that will always remind me of my grandma and of growing up. things that to most may sound insignificant or silly, but will always put a smile on my face...or a tear in my eye depending on the circumstance and my mood. ;)

basements (especially ones with scary "shops" at the foot of the stairs), laundry shoots, ping pong tables, red tricycles, glass door knobs, push button light switches, stilts, croquet, twirly kitchen chairs on wheels, a honey pot on the table, cheerios, cinnamon rolls, gliding rockers, quilts, sewing, thanksgiving, "green" salad, the generations old measuring door, plastic cups full of coke, and the warm, homey slightly sweet smell of her house that every once in a while, depending on what i've recently cooked my house smells like...and when it does, i inhale it with joy and smile.

oh, will be so missed. and you are so loved. rest peacefully and watch over us from above like you always did while you were here on earth. xoxo

july 2010 - nolan 5 months old
thanksgiving 2011 - nolan 21 months
the lovebirds - february 2013
march 7th, 2013 -
one week before gma passed

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