Losing Her

This past weekend was one of the hardest few days I've ever gone through in my life. It's hit me so hard that this is the first time since I heard the news that I really haven't been on the computer at all. Thursday afternoon of last week was when it began.

My mom called and told me that my grandma wasn't doing well. Her health was going fast. She wasn't expected to live much longer. This came as a shock as just the week before, she was doing well. I hadn't seen my grandma in seven years. Seven years ago was the last time I got to see her, got to talk to her, got to feel her give me a hug and call my name. The same with my grandpa too. That was the last time I ever saw him before he passed away three years ago. I wasn't even able to go to the funeral to say my last goodbye. My mom thought it was better that I didn't. So I said my goodbyes from far away.

Once he had passed, my grandma was all I had left. My dad's parents both had passed away. His mom passed when I was still too little to really remember her. And his father passed away the day they drove me down the college. I remember that day so well. I had never seen my dad so hurt and torn.... as if his heart had been completely ripped from his chest and every piece of him fell to the floor. Though I was very sad for my dad, I didn't know his dad too well. I have faint memories of the two of us together. But it still hurt to know he was gone.

I was closer to my mom's side of the family. When my grandfather first got sick, I was crushed. I knew I wouldn't be able to go to the funeral because I was so far away. He lived through several years of it until he finally passed. I cried. I cried a lot. I was close to him. I knew life would not be the same. I regret not getting a photo of him and my daughter together when I last saw him. I was for sure there would be other times.....but those times never came. I sat and thought about all the things we did together when I was a kid.

And then all I had left was my grandma. We all thought she would pass away soon after my grandpa did from a broken heart. She didn't know how to live without him. Their love was amazing.  I have never seen two people care about each other and hold onto another as dearly as they did. Up until the very end. 

They had been high school sweethearts and was married right after she graduated high school and stayed married until the end. The story of how they met always made me laugh when my grandma would tell it. She told me that my grandpa was dating my grandma's friend and they were pretty serious. My grandma stole him from her and they weren't friends anymore LOL.... what a way to grab a guy. Stold him right from her friend....she cracks me up with that story every time she told me.

My grandma didn't pass away though as we thought she would because of my grandpa. She was determined to keep life going as long as possible. And that is what she did. She held on to the very end.

I found out Thursday evening when I talked to one of my cousins, that our uncle knew she wasn't going to make it much longer. Within the next 24 hours, she would be gone. Her health went that fast. I cried....I cried a lot. I wanted to go see her so bad before she died. I tried all that I could to go up there. I had held onto hope that she would still be around within the next couple of days so I could get up there to her.

Friday morning came ...... I was talking to my cousin for a bit about the situation. I went back to do some housework in between our chats. Then my phone rang....it was my mother. She called to let me know that my grandma had finally passed away that morning.

My heart sank. I felt frozen. I couldn't move. But somehow I opened up the text box and started to message my cousin as I was still on the phone with my mom to let her know. Then I got off the phone and walked into the bathroom. I started to cry and cry and cry. I couldn't stop. And when I finally did, I cried some more. I walked into the bedroom and sat on the bed next to my husband and woke him up from his sleep and told him. I just cried after that and got up and walked away.

I finally felt all alone. I really did feel alone. I lost every one of my grandparents now. I had no more left. Who was going to tell me all their stories of when they fought in World War II? And who was going to sit there and bake me chocolate chip cookies?

Every memory of my grandma and grandpa rotated over and over in my mind and knowing I lost them forever just killed me inside. I begged my mom to watch my kids so that my dad could drive me up to where she lived. If I couldn't have said goodbye before, I wanted to say goodbye now. And so he did. We packed our bags and drove the 8-hour drive up to where she lived and so did the majority of my mom's family.

I helped as they removed all of her belongings out of her room. We went through everything and boxed up this and that and dispersed it amongst the family. My mom had them set aside all of my grandma's bedroom furniture just for me. I was going to be the one who got to keep it. I stared at it all and cried. I used to spend hours in her bedroom when I would come up as a child to visit her and be so in love with her bedroom. She had all her makeup on her vanity as well as her wedding photo.... and her bed mesmerized me. Everything was glamorous with her. She wouldn't accept nothing less. And now, it was mine. And I was so happy to have that part of my grandma stay with me.

My mom promised my daughter my grandma and grandpa's bed and end table. So I moved those into her room and once she gets a new mattress to fit it, we are going to set her room up so beautiful. I'm honored for her to sleep in the bed that my grandparents used.

As for me, I got to keep the vanity that belonged to my grandma and the dresser that belonged to my grandpa. I also took the seashell decor that she had in her bathroom. I loved her bathroom and hung up the photo she had in hers, now in mine. But her bird watching hat, gloves, coral reef and shell candles, along with a picture frame she owned are all on the vanity now and I will not move them. She had her wedding photo always placed on there and now I have my own wedding photo in the same place as she had hers on the vanity's top.

I put my grandpa's kaleidoscope on his dresser as well as my grandparent's wedding album on there as well. Looking back at their wedding, it truly amazes me that they were so young, so in love and yet, they grew so old together and still so very much in love. I feel so honored to have their things here in my home. My grandma was an amazing person...so was my grandpa. 

And now they are finally back together again. It hurts my heart and at the same time, I feel a bit of comfort as well knowing they have each other once more. And I will never forget the memories I have of them.  I miss them both so very much. It's just so hard to believe that my grandma is now gone forever too. They both are... but not from my mind. I hold such a special place for them both now.

My grandma and grandpa on their wedding day back in 1949

A 5-tiered wedding cake

The wedding party consisted of my grandma's sister, my grandma, my grandpa, and my grandpa's friend. Boy, wasn't my grandpa just handsome? He had just fought in WWII four years earlier and was such a handsome young man.

My great grandparents on both sides.

The newspaper article announcing their wedding in 1949.

My grandma was all about life. She didn't want people to be sad at her funeral. So our family agreed to do something different. So instead of the traditional funeral, we are now going to be having a celebration of her life on her most favorite day of the year. The Fourth of July. 

My grandma was always known for her big Fourth of July parties and get together's. Everyone looked forward to them every year. It was her favorite time and so now, we will all get together to say one last goodbye to her at a ceremony on the Fourth of July this coming year. We can all remember her and celebrate her life together all as a family on the day that meant the most to her.

Now my grandparents can be together again forever..... my grandma's final engraving will say October 14, 2016   ......... but they will both be in our hearts until we all see them again one day.