Last week was a very long and difficult week for my family. Earlier in the month, my grandma had suffered a silent heart attack. Despite all the efforts at the hospital and the initial optimistic views that she would be going home in a few days, it never happened.
Sunday the 15th the hospital suggested that all the family come to say our goodbyes.
My grandma had six children, including my dad. Most of those children married giving her many grandchildren and even great grandchildren now as well. It’s a big family!
From Sunday to Wednesday, my dad and his brothers and sisters lived at the hospital. No one wanted to leave Grandma’s side for fear that when they did, the worst would happen. Sleeping on chairs or waiting room couches took its toll on her children but everyone else pulled together to be there and offer support in any way we could. There was always a full crowd in the waiting room and people ready to make a run to get food.
The hospital staff bent the visitation rules because there were so many of us there to see her. Instead of only allowing two to three visitors in her room at a time, there were as many as ten at a time.
It was during this time I realized how blessed I am to be part of such an amazing family. It was a sad experience to know that I was there to say goodbye to someone I loved but at the same time, it was amazing to watch everyone come together and just be there for each other – no questions asked. Sometimes we just sat, each lost in his or her own thoughts staring at the wall or with head in hands but it wasn’t always sad and serious either. The days sat by Grandma’s side were filled with reminiscing of the happy times and remembering other loved ones that had gone before her.
Tuesday night her children spent a sleepless night by her side and Wednesday morning she passed away.
Those six children are living proof of the good person my grandmother was. They are six people who will always be there to support each other in any way needed. They didn’t turn out that way by accident.
I’m sad to say goodbye. I can’t imagine the holidays without Grandma. I can’t imagine not having her around. But I am also very honored and grateful to be a part of this family so if there is any good that comes out of an otherwise painful experience, it’s knowing how much love we share and that we’re never alone.
RIP Grandma. I will always have fond memories, especially of all the fun camping trips that we shared while I was growing up.
Grandma is pictured above on my wedding day with her youngest son, my Uncle Tom.