Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Grandmother Passed Away Last Week

In the middle of me breaking ground and going places that I'd never gone before, I did not blog about something that was happening: my grandmother was dying. She died while gasping for air and knew what was happening on Thursday night. She was 95 years old with multiple organ failure.

I chose a Jewish version of her name as my baptismal name. I think that my family may be Jewish (I'm such a Jew-wanna-be! LOL) because she had told me, back when I was getting marriage counseling with my ex husband and discussing family traditions, about her mother telling her about her mother who used to light a candle at sunset every Friday night. My mother until 15 or so years ago would not cut meat and vegetables on the same tray, but they thought I was silly when I said it was Jewish and insisted that we were Lutherans AND WE JUST HAD A JEWISH SURNAME WITH THAT PARTICULAR GRANDMOTHER, DAMMIT. :)

My grandmother was a cook for a school and she and my late grandfather owned a restaurant for a while. She sewed and made beautiful porcelain dolls, one that she gave to me after a miscarriage. I'd take that doll on stage with me in a Mrs. Alaska pageant. She thought that that was pretty cool! I have saved several quilts and afghans that she made for me.

She was a pretty lady, both inside and out. When my mom had a serious surgery in Seattle, I was 9 years old. We had to stay there (going down from Fairbanks, Alaska) for 3 months. Every day she dragged me to see Great Grandma every day. I was mad because she was in an old folks' home which smelled of cleaning agents. One day Great Grandma threw up on me and I thought that my arm would fall off. For a week she let me sit in the car while she went in, then she made me go in again. I whined, "It's not fair! Why do Karen and Terry not have to come?" (They were cousins my age who taunted me for having to go.) Grandma said, "Because they don't have good hearts like you do!" She didn't state the obvious, that they lived 20 minutes away in the other direction, no, Grandma chose to tell me that I had a good heart. I'd complain more and she'd keep telling how sweet I was and in spite of how I reacted, she was unable to be convinced otherwise.

I would wind up volunteering a lot ond going places that no one likes to volunteer at-- unless they have good hearts like me! LOL I've done Hospice, Compeer, CASA, 4A's, toname a few. She was very proud of me when I worked at an Extended care facility because she said, "Those homes need people like you."

Last week I called her a couple of days before she died and she'd been mostly in and out for two weeks, but that one time, she was awake and called me by name. She said she'd see my kids soon.

I last saw her at my dad's wake. We barely spoke before her ride was ready to take her home and she asked me if I'd come see her. I cried so hard when I said I would. I knew I'd not make it back down.

My cousin who is a paramedic was with her and he broke down. The whole family was there with her-- kids, grands-- everyone. It was OK that I wasn't there. The kids and I made a banner for her that she saw before she died. We wrote "We love our great grandma!" on it and put all of our hands in fabric paint and signed underneath. I think that my mom thought it was too hillbilly because instead of hanging it over part of her casket, she says that she put it in the casket.

The weekend was made worse with my Kairos teammates. I was not droopy at the prison. I was getting sick but I wasn't depressed. Now i am feeling blue.Of course my mom is sad with both of her parents gone because the feeling that I had when my dad died of being next is double bad for her.

My younger brother had a little fun-- as he schmoozed with the family, people asked about me and he said that I had wanted to come down but that I had a "retreat" in prison. (He said the word retreat with finger quotation marks.) He would of course wait a few counts then tell them what I was doing, but even had I not had the "retreat" I couldn't have afforded to go down.


Ropi said...

I am sorry.

Erick Cordero said...

Sorry about your loss.

Steve said...

My thoughts are with you. This was a warm and beautiful remembrance.