I've been reading through this board and am so glad we started it. A special thanks to the moderators as they were the strong push behind bringing it to life. Bless you all.
I lost my grandmother last year. Her health was very, very poor and she surprised us often by rising up several times from what we thought was the beginning of the end for her. She would go from having to be carried around the house to getting up the next day and walking out of her bedroom with her walker on her own. She loved to get out into her yard and sit on the porch. She was prepared to die, yet no matter how close she came to it I was never ready for it.
I remember a conversation we had about five years ago when she first became very ill. She told me she had lived 80 years, and a very full and rewarding life she had. She was thankful to be able to face death knowingly and to say good bye rather than a sudden occurrence without time for words. She told me to "stay home with them babies. Don't you leave them to travel all that way to come to my funeral. We can say our goodbyes together in life, not after death."
I did travel to see her after that. And called her many times thereafter just to talk. My son in his innocence even told her when he saw her, cheeks drawn, pale and bone thin, that he would likely not see her again. She never forgot those words of knowing from one so young and she mentioned it everytime we talked.
Then last November I got The Phone Call. She had gone to the hospital because she had pneumonia yet again. Her recovery seemed imminent and her death so unexpected that noone called to let me know she was sick. She just slipped away.
I struggled between going to the funeral and honoring her advice to me to "stay home with them babies". The distance between us is not one of a few hours on a jet plane. I stayed home. And I grieved long distance with my family. Sometimes I'd call my mother or my aunt just to cry. I needed to expell my feelings and share my treasure of her in my life. I needed to let everyone hear and feel and know just how much she meant to me and what I had lost. Not being there where everyone was likely doing just that made it all the more difficult. So I wrote. I poured my feelings out onto paper. Lots of paper.
Then I decided that those words on paper would be my way of saying goodbye after death. A way of honoring her request yet fulfilling my need to grieve and contribute to the final words of goodbye that those present at her funeral would share in. I gathered together what best expressed my feelings about her and her life and I sent it to my family. They read it at her funeral service and my mother swears there was not a dry eye in the church. That somehow made me move through the grieving process in a way I probably couldn't have done alone. The tears of others from listening to my tribute to her gave me validation of my own feelings, of how deep and real they were and continue to be.
I still cry. I still grieve. I still must go home, to her house, to the house she has always lived in, and face her not being there, face feeling her but not being able to touch her or talk to her. Perhaps when I do that I will write again. Maybe this time I will write with fabric and thread.
My tribute to her is here: www.mamaclyde.homestead.com