Many of you know that my Grandma passed away this past week. We had known she was sick, but nothing can prepare your heart for the loss of a loved one. She went fast and peacefully. The nurse was with her while she was eating when she took a deep breath. The nurse asked Grandma if she had done everything she needed to before passing on. She nodded her head yes and then the nurse asked her if there was anything she could do for her. Grandma replied “I would like to hear some gospel music…wait I hear gospel music”. She then asked the nurse to tell Grandpa and her kids that she loved them and she closed her eyes and went into a coma. In just 45 minutes she had died.
For me this was my first real hard death….I hope I don’t have to face another one any time soon. I knew I would cry. I knew I would miss my Grandma, but there were so many other emotions that I didn’t know I would experience. I grieved hard for the change that I will now face. I know Grandma is in a peaceful place, with no more pain or sorrow, but her death brought on another reality of life for me…it does one day end. I saw my Grandma’s pictures of when she was younger, she was beautiful. I found her high school diploma and tassle…now who would really care after her grandchildren? Would it be just another piece of paper with just another name? I carefully looked through the jewelry that she once wore. Some pieces I had never seen, some I recognized well. I curled up every night in the bed that I slept in growing up on visits, and I cried because in the morning Grandma was not going to be there. I watched my Grandpa cry so many tears and then laugh at some funny story about Grandma. Knowing that he now too had to adjust to life without her, far more than anyone else. Then there was the hard first time experience for my kids, death of someone they knew.
Tim and I had many talks the last month on discussing death with our children. We debated on letting them see her body or letting them not really get close to the situation. After seeking some council (supporting both sides) we decided we were going to do as we do with all situations, be completely honest. We knew that they were old enough to understand a lot and Tim and I felt that though they were close to Grandma, they were not attached as if it were their own grandparents. Cayden cried alot. Mostly from the sadness she felt from Grandpa and others around. We prepared them to view her body. Death is all part of life and in fact death is a very important part of what we believe. Jesus had to die so that we could live. We told them they could touch her. Cobe asked if he could refrain. We told him of course, but he chose to touch her anyway. We let them say and ask whatever, which led Cobe to say very respectfully “That would be freaky if she just popped right up out of there”. We silently laughed and agreed. All throughout the visitation Cayden would go to the casket and whisper things in Grandma’s ear. She whispered that she loved her and that she would miss her. Cayden seemed very in tune with the situation. She hugged Grandpa several times throughout the visitation and chatted with many of the older visitors. Grandpa kept saying “that’s my girl, you lost your girl, she is mine now!” Cobe was withdrawn, although I could see in his eyes he was just as heartbroken as Cayden. He just dealt with it differently.(Here he is while everyone else is chatting away, he is deep in thought looking at Grandma’s casket).
During the funeral Cayden sat by my mom and Grandpa at times. She leaned on their shoulders and held their hands. She teared up often. Especially when Grandpa fulfilled my grandma’s request to “tuck her in” one final time. My mom sang without crying, but we all lost it when we heard my grandma’s voice sing a song from years ago. It was a beautiful ceremony and the burial was just as nice, and sad. The kids had their share of questions and once again we let them explore every aspect of the burial. In fact my entire family was very good about answering questions and not hushing them. Everyone also included them in the entire process. It was a good learning experience for them. Sad, but good.
So here I am today, home, sad at times. I cry here and there. I know I miss Grandma, but sometimes I think I cry because I have that reality of change now more than ever. If only for this time, I hug tighter and laugh harder. I am trying to live life now while I am young. I am taking time to enjoy my kids a little more, and love my husband (who by the way did a GREAT job holding down everything while I was emotionally and mentally out of it) more!
On a side note, it did comfort me somewhat that my Grandma’s head stone will be near a Foust. This is the last name of my dear friend. I know it’s weird, but it is slightly comforting.
**These pictures were taken by my husband upon request of my twin sister who was unable to attend. She had said her good-bye with Grandma the day before she died. Then her family headed back to Michigan, not expecting her to pass away as suddenly as she did. By the time they had heard of her death they were too close to home, and she could not get any affordable flight or a returning flight. We missed her, and she hated not being there. F.Y.I. I don’t just carry my camera everywhere. If you look closely you can see my nose as proof that I was not taking the pictures.