Dory asked several of us to write something about our mothers for the month of May. Although this is not about my mother, it is about my Grandmother. She was like a second mother to me.
This is from the morning that she passed away. At this point she was in a semi-coma but ever so often would still respond to me.
I sat beside her bed, held her hand and started talking to her. I talked all about our life together. I started from when I was an itsy baby. How for my 4th birthday she flew me down to Florida to stay with her for a whole month. I reminder her that she had me fly down with my Great-grandmother (her mother) and how she smacked my butt on the way home on the plane cause I was crying for her and didn't want to leave. How while I was in Florida, we went to Disney, drove across the Banana River - where you had to pay in banana's to cross (never really knew the real name of the river and it was a toll bridge), how we went swimming at the complex pool and I stubbed my toe on the bottom and she carried me home crying and bleeding, how I chased the waves at the Ocean when she took me there, and how when me and a little neighbor boy were playing in the yard a frog jumped on my head. (I still have a picture of that at home). Then I went on to talk about the time she flew me and my sister out to Arizona over Christmas break one year - by ourselves! We pulled taffy with the neighbor lady who we affectionately called Tia -meaning aunt in Spanish. How we played with the lizards in the yard, and drove out to California to see my uncles and go to Disney out there. When we stayed at my Uncle Jack's my sister thought a train was coming through her bedroom in the middle of the night (there were no trains around). Then I talked about all the fun we had at her place right off the beach as we were growing up. We would spend almost the whole summer there and when it was time to go home, I would always cry and throw a fit - my dad always threatened to never take me back if I couldn't quit carrying on every time I had to leave. I talked about how I chose to go to college where I did so that I could be close to her. She would pick me up on the weekends and we would either go to her place or drive down to my parents for the weekend (my father was dying of cancer at this time). How we bought the house that we did so that she could move in with us. It had a ramp and larger doors in her room and the bathroom in case she was ever in a wheel chair. How I tried so hard to take care of her on my own until I could no longer do so. How she actually loved being at Woodland Place and the people there loved her. (All of the nurses stopped in to see her everyday - she always gave them a big hug and a piece of candy. I always had to keep her candy dish stocked for her.)
After I went through our life together I sang a song to her - "You are my Sunshine" I sang it and cried and sang it again a few times. We always sang that song together on car trips. I then let her know that I was okay and that Tom would take care of me and the kids and that she didn't have to worry anymore. It was time for her to go home and meet Jesus. To see her kids again and the grandchild she never got to meet. Shortly after - her breathing slowed and she got a big smile on her face, I removed her oxygen mask and she took a few more breaths and was gone. She went in peace while it was quiet and just her and I in the room. I think she waited for it to be just us. Everyone was gone, her sister and brothers, no nurses, no other family.
I will never forget her and her fabulous hugs. Her hugs were the best in the world, everyone who ever had one will tell you the same. They were given with Love - not just an obligation hug. It was pure love and I have never had a hug from anyone that comes close to hers. Everyone that ever had a hug from her will tell you the same thing. That is what I will miss most for the rest of my life. Everyone also knew she was a Christian and through all of her trials, she never wavered from her Faith. She was an inspiration to all who knew her and I don't think she was ever forgotten by anyone and I don't believe anyone who ever met her didn't like her.
Sometimes when loved ones die, we try to make them better than they were, we try to put them on a pedestal - but this really was her. She was genuine and hardly ever had a cross word for anyone.
She had a hard life dealt to her. She was the oldest of seven and had to care for her younger siblings. When she was old enough to go to work, her whole paycheck was to be given to her father. She joined the Marines right after Pearl Harbor because her Uncle was stationed there and killed. While she was stationed in CA, she came home one day to find her husband (my dad's father) in bed with her so called best friend. She moved back home to her parents with 2 small children in tow. She worked her butt off to get a place of her own so that her paychecks again didn't go to her father. She was remarried and came home to her kids locked in the attic because he didn't like them. She again left and moved back home for a while. When her daughter was 20 she caught Spinal Meningitis and died within a week. She remarried again to the grandfather that I knew. He was good for her. When my father was 42 he died of cancer. She lost a grandchild shortly after she moved in with us, I was pregnant and had a miscarriage. She had a 5 way bypass, 3 other heart attacks, e-coli from a tear in her intestines, a broken hip, cervical cancer, and many other things I can't think of at the moment. And through it all she never lost her Faith or Hope. She was a true follower of Christ. I strive to be half the Christian that she was and often fall short.
The video below is from Mercy Me, called Homesick. The first time I heard the song Homesick I was on the way home from finishing some of grandma's final affairs. I still can't get through the song without crying.