Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bye Bye Sweet Virginia

My dad's mother died today, the day before his birthday. If he were alive he'd be 55 this year. My grandmother's birthday is August 1. She would have been 86. She had 8 kids and my dad was #2. She had him when she was almost 31. That's kind of incredible that she had 6 more. I guess I could have 6 kids if I really wanted to. Um. I don't. Sorry for the randomness here.

But yeah. My grandma is dead. I am sad. I had a complicated relationship with her. She and my dad had a very rocky relationship while he was alive and that carried over into her relationship with me. She often took out her frustrations with my dad on me. I know she loved me and I loved her. I have her nose. I have her emotionality. I apparently have her fertility. I relish the gifts she's given me.

The biggest gift of all was this master class in dying. She was diagnosed with a recurrence of kidney cancer in January. She opted out of treatment and was given 6 months to live. She made it just a few extra days. In the meantime, she spent her final months at home among her family. Her 6 living children cared for her and she spent time with friends and her extended family up until her final days. I last saw her on Thursday. She was almost comatose by then. She tried to wake up and talk, but she couldn't. I could tell she heard me and knew I was there. It was awkward sitting at her bedside having a one-sided conversation. I'm sure she understood that. I'm glad I got to say goodbye. I'm so glad she got to hold her great-granddaughter that she waited for. I'm so glad she waited. I'm sad.

She died today around 2:00 in her home as she wanted. Four of her children, her husband and her sister were there with her. She was loved. She loved. What more could she ask for?


chelle said...

I'm glad you got to be there with her at the end. It's a tough process, but it sounds like she lived a full life, flavored with all the joys and pains that make our existence both so hard sometimes, but also so complex and beautiful. It's a bittersweet cycle...go home and hug those babies :)

JenC said...

I'm sorry for your loss my friend.