A year ago yesterday, I said my “unofficial” good bye to my grandma.
The circumstances were a bit of a fluke. I had mindlessly forgotten my bag at my parents’ house after a chaotic Christmas day spent with family. I left my son’s hockey tournament to retrieve it with my daughter by my side. She was more than happy to have an early reprieve from the rink. I was annoyed with the extra effort required of me obviously not knowing how grateful I’d be in the end.
Frustration and helplessness hung heavy in the air when we arrived. Gram was uncomfortable, in pain, and OVER it. It was an unfortunate yet familiar scene as of late due to Gram’s extended hospital stays and decreased mobility. In between my efforts to distract her from her mental anguish and bring her a small sense of relief, I said my piece:
…that when I was lost, it was always her sweet hugs that found me,
…that I don’t know what I would have done without her,
…that she made my life,
…that she would break my heart if she left. I would miss her too much.
It wasn’t eloquent. Tears trying to escape were stifled. I gently buried my head in her neck solidifying the memory of the moment in my brain. There was so much more I could have said, but what I managed was the heart of it. At the time, there was an impossibility to it all. No part of me believed I had less than a month left with her on this earth and still, I was compelled by the intuition I so desperately tried to ignore and made the words fall out of my mouth.
It’s been a year since that day although, it can feel excruciatingly like a lifetime.
Sometimes I pretend that she’s only a phone call away. Sitting in her chair just over the river. I listen to her voicemail message and wish I had a better imagination. Other times, when I’m in the quiet of the predawn hours, when it rains until the roads are flooded like the last day I saw her, as I face each day putting one foot in front of the other, I think of not only our last good bye, but everything we shared and know she will always be with me.