When our phone rang at that time on Palm Sunday morning, I was awake feeding the baby. Rob answered and I heard him say my mother's name and I knew why she was calling.
My grandmother had passed away in the wee small hours of the morning.
She had been very sick for a couple months and she was in a nursing home; it was situation that no one wanted or was happy about, but one that was unavoidable at the time. A few infections led to a series of small strokes that had left her completely dependent. She needed constant nursing care that none of her children could provide at their homes, even though they wanted to.
It was hard on my grandmother and her children both; she lived to be with her family and when she wasn't with them, she failed to thrive.
She eagerly awaited Septimus' arrival, but when he was born she told my mother that she knew she would never live to see him. We told her she was being silly; of course she would live to see him. When the weather was better and he was bigger and the kids were not sick, I would pile them in the car and we would come to see her. We could bring lunch and then maybe wheel her around the courtyard to get some spring sunshine.
But spring didn't come fast enough this year, and I missed my chance to see her and to show her Septimus. To laugh with her about all the silly things Bun was doing, and to show off the little girls, and to brag on the big kids with her. She was right, she never did see the baby. I am so heartbroken about that especially.
I've written about her before, for her 80th birthday, but it's hard to put her into words.
She once made me a dress out of the leftover fabric she used to re-cover her sofa, so when I sat on that sofa only my face and arms were really visible. She had the phone number for the White House in her personal phonebook. She ran out of glue so repaired my mother's little doll with Karo syrup (the doll met an unfortunate end with a colony of ants when my mother took it outside). She taught me to sing all kinds of old songs while we sat and waited for the fireworks to start on the 4th of July. She let me go through her fabric closet and make costumes for hundreds of ridiculous impromptu plays. She never turned anyone away from her door, and she made everything stretch to make room for anyone who needed a place to go or something to eat.
She was one of a kind and we loved her like that.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.
|Grandmom and Me, 1976|