I’m having a hard time writing one of my usual cheery mutterings. I have our fun “F” summer activity completed as well as a family favorite recipe, but the writing of it doesn’t feel right, following the weekend spent with my grandmother and the suspenseful waiting of “the call”.
We’ve been through this before, almost 18 years ago, when my grandfather (her husband), passed away.
I try not to talk about it much, because it is hard to have a conversation. I say, “My grandmother is dying.” to which the response is generally, “I’m sorry”.
Yes, I’m sorry too. I have a hard time imagining a world without her in it. But I know the world has been a better place because of her in it. Truly it has, as she was a strong leader within NY state for the prevention of child abuse.
But I’m also not sorry. I’m not sorry because I know she has been ready to move on for some time, and it is almost like her body is betraying her, by keeping her here in this state. I’m not sorry because I know that keeping up with her care has been a big drain on my parents and aunt. And though I know they did it out of sheer love for their mother, it has taken a toll on them. Though I know my grandmother loved being surrounded by the community of love she helped build, her independent nature would never want her to be a burden.
This slow decline could help in the mourning, though. For someone that dies very suddenly, the loss of their impact in your life is felt at every spot they filled. In her prime, she would frequently email me, send me relevant articles from the Wall Street Journal and encourage me to be a better person. Those spots in my life that my grandmother used to fill have slowly been filled in different ways, almost without me realizing it. What’s left is just the pure love of a great human being, and that will never go away.
The response could be, “she’s moving on to a better place” and while I do believe that, I’ll still miss her. I’ll miss the great example of love she was to everyone who knew her. I don’t say this lightly. To know her was to be loved by her. And she never let you forget it.