Early on the morning of Wednesday, November 27th, 2013, the world lost an amazing woman in my grandma. She was one of the most loving and generous people that I ever had the pleasure of knowing. Even better, I had the great fortune of being this woman's grandson. This means that she spoiled me rotten growing up and even when I got older! I'm not sure that there is anything I can say that will even come close to describing how much I am going to miss her, but I am going to try.
Normally I consider myself a pretty strong person, but these last few days have been tough for me. On Monday morning, my dad sent me a text message saying that grandma was not doing well. He told me that she had another transient ischemic attack (TIA), or a warning stroke, and that she was unresponsive, but breathing on her own. I was ready to drop everything and go home right then, but dad told me there was nothing I could do and so I stayed in East Lansing until Tuesday morning. I decided to take class off on Tuesday and Wednesday to come home early to see her. By this time we decided that we wouldn't go down to Chattanooga, TN to visit my brother. This was also tough because we were all really looking forward to that. (Side note: he was an extra in the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, and we were going to watch that with him while we were there.)
I left East Lansing just before 10 am so I could get home to Big Rapids before noon. I honestly thought that when I got there I would have some magic effect as the self-proclaimed "favorite grandson" and she would just snap out of whatever she was going through. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Although I truly believe she knew I was there. I always tried to get her to do little 'exercises' throughout the day because she spent so much time sitting; just little things like extending her knees or lifting her heels and toes to get some blood flow to and from her lower limbs. Once I got there and said hi to her, sure enough she started to do her exercises- extending her left knee! The director of the assisted living home told us that hearing was the last sense to go so I am sure she heard me telling her to do her exercises.
I stayed with her most of the day just sitting next to her bed working on a research proposal for my KIN 840: Psychosocial Aspect of Physical Activity class. I was even reading to her what I was writing for the proposal and told her I was sorry it was so boring! I decided it would be best if I turned on some music to escape the dullness and what better way to do this than Christmas music?! I think she really liked that.
I am going to miss a lot of things about my grandma. I am going to miss her saying, "While you're on your feet..." when she needed help with something. Whether I was actually on my feet or not didn't matter, but I was always more than happy to get whatever she needed. I am going to miss getting cards from her. If you ever knew my grandma, chances are good that you probably received a card from her at some point in your life.
She absolutely loved to make cards. This may actually be the thing that caused her to decline so rapidly during the last few months. She would spend literally hours at her card table making cards which is what caused her feet to swell so badly (hence the exercises I had her doing). But most of all I know that I am going to miss her voice. Especially after leaving her room or talking with her on the phone; she would always say, "Love you, love you, love you!" The first time I left her room after she passed away and I didn't hear those words was very tough for me.
I am thankful that I got to speak with her one last time on Sunday. I had called my dad, as I do every day, and he just happened to be visiting grandma at the time and put her on the phone. I asked how she was doing and she told me she wasn't doing well. I think she knew at this point that it wasn't going to be long before she was gone. She asked when I was going to be home and I told her it probably wouldn't be for another 3 weeks since we had planned to visit Tyler over Thanksgiving. I could tell she was disappointed by that, but she seemed to understand. It was a nice conversation and of course she ended it with her famous, "Love you, love you, love you!"
I am also thankful to all those who expressed their condolences. My grandma was an amazing woman and I will miss her dearly. I'm just glad that I have such great friends to help me through this.
Love you, love you, love you.