Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More Goodbyes and Life Lessons

Those of you who are my BFF's on facebook (all 465 of you) know that my grandmother passed away last week. It wasn't just any granma, it was THE granma if you know what I mean. You know the one...everybody has ONE granma who is always there...or at least tries to be when you're one of 19 grandkids and have 3 of 9 great grandkids. She tried to be at everyone's birthday celebrations, graduations, preschool Thanksgiving programs, band concerts, all that STUFF. She did the best she could, even after being diagnosed with terminal cancer-mesothelioma.

But she was THE granma for me at least, and we always had a special relationship. It's hard to describe what that may be like to anyone who hasn't had the same blessings, but all the same,

She lived over 4 years post diagnosis. What a BLESSING for us to have had that time with her. What a tragedy she lived a good chunk of that time in pain, and discomfort. If was a gift like a double edged sword. You're so glad you have it...until you see how much it hurts someone to just inhale and exhale.

We knew it was her time about 3 days before she passed. I pulled my kids out of school early and we drove the hour and change to the hospital so that they could say their goodbye's. I spent the following day with her as they moved her into hospice, holding her hand, stroking her hair, mingling my tears with hers, and telling her I loved her. She knew what was going on, and was able to tell us her deep dark secrets (she had a speeding ticket in 2005...can you BELIEVE it?) and told everyone in turn she loved them and was going to miss them.

She left us less than 36 hours after that. I come from a VERY large family and so the events leading up to her death were not very typical. Someday I may write a book about it, but for now suffice it to say that damn near all of my grieving has been done in private.

Even when I last saw her at the wake,
Even as I sang her "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" as part of her eulogy. Not many in my family knew I could sing, but, there's a shit load of stuff that the family doesn't know about me, and I will be keeping it that way.

One thing I will not forget is at the wake when I prompted the children to say "goodbye", Nate looked at her and said, "Bye Grammies. I hope you feel better soon". That led to a very long discussion about how she isn't getting better, to which he replied, "I know mom! I know God came and stoled her soul, but I hope she's feeling better in Heaven." With the unspoken "Dumbass" right behind it. Like I should know better. And maybe I should.

Since then though, our family has been inundated with food, cards, phone calls (just checkin' on us), random kidnappings of me to a local restaurant for good beer and a heartfelt conversation. When you have seen certain family members who are supposed to be the ones to hold and love and support you do their very worst and try and bring you down and hurt you it is nothing short of amazing to see and understand that this is NOT the way the rest of the world works.

We were incredibly blessed to have the Prayer Caravan from church (consisting of our male pastor and 2 other guys) come to our home, lay hands on our shoulders (and in the meantime touching our hearts) and as I was huddled with my children and cuddled in a ball...we were able to grieve privately, yet openly with comfort and support.

When you surround yourself with the goodness and kindness of the very best of people, you cannot help but want to give it back. When you remove yourself from situations that are nothing short of crazy making, and from people who have but one goal and that being to puncture your heart to make you bleed...when you leave all that behind, you see that those you surround yourself with become who you want to be.

Lucky, Lucky me. Those I've chosen to surround myself are nothing short of angels and answered prayers.

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