On Sunday, July 28, 2013, my precious Grammy left this world, exactly one week shy of her 103rd birthday.
I knew she was failing and had been visiting every weekend. I’d planned to leave after church Sunday to make the trek to see her, but then Hospice was called in mid-week. I changed my plans and went Saturday morning. Ash went with me, because that’s the kind of kid he is. He wants to be there.
My mom and uncle were there, and friends came and went. We spent the day sitting beside her, talking to her, loving her, sharing stories with her, touching her, holding her hands. The Hospice nurse, Susan, came and gave us a loose estimate of 72 hours. She said Grammy had one foot in this world and one foot in the next. Ash and I sat with her until Midnight. My mom sat with her all night.
Ash and I stayed the night at a hotel. I left my phone on full volume in the event mom needed me.
The next morning, mom called to say they were both still there and not much change. When Ash and I arrived an hour and a half later we learned that the mottling had begun. Mottling is when the extremities begin to turn blue due to lack of oxygen. It started in Grammy’s feet. Within two hours, it had moved up her legs.
Ash had written a report on Grammy for a class last school year. She was so proud of that report and read it over and over. My uncle brought it from the house that morning and Ash read it to her again.
Another precious Hospice nurse arrived. Her name was Casey and I will be forever grateful to that dear woman. She examined Grammy, gave a new loose estimate of 24 hours. We gathered around her. Casey was preparing to leave, talking with us, answering as many questions as she could, allowing her presence to comfort us. Mom said she was going to go take a shower and then come back. But she was going to wait a few minutes.
Suddenly, Grammy’s breathing changed. It was time.
Everyone gathered around the bed. I held her hand, mom held the other. My uncle stood beside mom, Casey and Ash stood at the foot of the bed. Grammy’s darling friends Janie and Paula stood behind me. Casey reassured us that everything was happening just the way it should, that what we were seeing was all part of the process. We talked to her, loved her as her body died and her spirit moved both feet into the great beyond.
I envision her rising above the bed, looking down at all of us softly weeping and loving her out of this world. And then she was gone. It was a most intimate and peaceful experience and I will never forget it.
Despite being there as she passed, it still keeps occurring to me, “Oh….she’s gone!”
I will forever love and miss you, Grammy, but you were one of the most precious and influential people of my life.