That's my Grandma there, in the picture. I have her eyes. Well, really, I have my mother's eyes but they just seem to run in the family.
My Grandma died this morning.
It was very, very expected but I'm still kind of mad. Not at anyone in particular but her mother lived to be 97 so, until she was diagnosed with lung cancer, I always assumed she'd be around until I was at least 40.
My husband has lost most of his grandparents and I asked him if he could still hear their voices. It's very important to me that I don't forget the way she sounded when she spoke. Her voice was full of the adventures of her youth--at least it was when I listened. It climbed and fell in the memories of Hawai'i and old Hollywood. It rang excitedly in the raising of two daughters, the adoring of five grandchildren and the loving of one husband for over 55 years. I simply cannot allow myself to forget the charm in that voice.
I grew up near my grandmother and was blessed with a considerable amount of time spent with her. But it wasn't enough. I wasn't ready to say goodbye. And I wasn't prepared to be 750 miles away from her in the end. My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago. Her wish was to live to see her first great grandchild. That child, Garrett, is now eighteen months old. I am so proud of her for that valiant fight, for allowing me the privilege of having her for so much longer than I expected.
I am so thankful that she lived long enough for me to see her twice during my visit last week. In my Sunday school class we each have prayer partners. Today, at eleven o'clock my time, my prayer partner asked me what she could pray for. I replied, "My Grandma is going to die soon. If you could just pray for my family. That's all I can think of right now." My Grandmother died an hour later while my husband delivered his sermon. I hadn't meant it quite so literally. At 10:00 am, two hours before she passed away, I read Psalm 139 in my class. "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
I wrote my Grandma a letter a few months ago. There were so many things that I wanted her to know and I knew I couldn't communicate them without paper. While I am not going to include the entire letter (it was mostly about memories that I would treasure forever) I will include the end as tribute and as honor to a woman that I loved dearly, a woman whose eyes I am proud to see through.
"...I hope that in some small way I have made you proud. I hope that I have grown into whatever you imagined I would when you first held me. Thank you for being such a wonderful grandmother, for sharing so many of your life stories with me, and for believing in me. I will never say goodbye, for whenever you are finished with this world, I will carry you in my thoughts and you will never, truly, be gone...I just needed you to know how much I love you and how much I will miss you. Thank you for being my Grandma."
All my love for always,
This is a picture of my son and my grandma nine days ago. She would kill me for posting it, if she could. In fact, I kind of wish she would. She very nearly refused to be photographed at all because she was not happy with the way the cancer had taken her looks. But I am including it anyway because, even though my son is trying desperately to escape her lap, she is smiling. And, even if the sound of her voice one day escapes me, I just won't forget that smile.