This won’t be over for me tonight, not until I write – I know this. So just after 1am I am starting. Steve is snoozing next to me. I’ve prayed he wouldn’t wake up, that he wouldn’t hear my muffled weeping, my throat cracking as I struggle to breathe, because how would I explain what is wrong with me tonight? An hour ago we were joking around and now I’m wiping away years that won’t stop leaking from my eyes. I know this is God’s timing, and I’m grateful, but this heart-mending hurts. Physically.
Tomorrow I will ask my mom the date. I think it was in late June. I think I went to camp on June 14, and orientation was 10 days long, I think. A google search of the 1994 calendar leads me to believe she died on the 23rd. I’ll ask my mom tomorrow.
My grandma died almost 19 years ago. And I miss her. But, so much more I am so sad I didn’t say goodbye, I didn’t spend hardly any time with her in the 2 weeks I had the opportunity, I didn’t tell her how very much I loved her, and I didn’t go to her funeral. And, apparently I never grieved for her – until tonight.
I don’t know why tonight, other than maybe I’m just ready. Grieving hurts.
She and I were very close – she was my closest grandmother and she loved me. She always called me Baby and she used to aay, “That’s the way”. She was understanding. We used to watch the Golden Girls together, even though my parents kept telling her I shouldn’t watch that show. She taught me how to play Spite & Malice, and cribbage (when I learned my multiplication tables), and we did countless puzzles together on the table in my basement. She would pick me up so we could polish her silver, she took me for my first manicure when I quit chewing my nails, she taught me to tip with the nicest bills – she carried fresh, unused bills for tipping. She likes to speed in her Cadillac, she was an ambulance chaser, she always had Faygo and sherbert on hand. She and I saw Pretty Woman together in the theatre 7 times one summer – it was her favorite movie. She used to buy me Transformers because I liked them. She made the best ribs and I always wrapped the rolls for the dinner table. She wrote me so many letters and she counted down the days until I would come home (from Texas). She wouldn’t buy anything on sale because that meant it wasn’t special anymore. She was generous and fun. We spent so many days together – always busy doing something fun. She liked to dress up for Halloween and she liked to get crazy manicures. She was known and loved by service people everywhere we went together. She was strong and feisty and she loved me.
I always knew she loved me.
And I’ve long believed she waited for me before she died.
I am so sad.
I moved back to Michigan 5 days after graduation. She was in the hospital. I don’t know why I didn’t go visit her right away. All I can figure is that I was young and I didn’t know how such she was. Why did no one tell me she was so ill? Why did no one tell me I needed to spend time with her? One day I went and she was in a double room. I walked in started walking to the 2nd bed to see if that was her when she said, most likely, “Hi, Baby”. I didn’t even recognize her.
It’s too much to remember this.
We had a nice visit. She told me stories and I’m sure I told her all about everything – as always. My grandpa called or came by and she was all over him to give me a gift she had for me. My dying grandmother was insistent I receive that gift (pink towel set and a phone).
Before I left that day she talked about things we would do when she was better. I think she wanted to go to the movies.
She was moved into Hospice a few days later, I think. I don’t think I knew what Hospice was. I didn’t go see her.
Why did no one tell me my precious grandmother was dying? I could just scream at someone. Why didn’t anyone tell me I had just days left to see her, to talk with her, to tell her how she was the only bright spot in my life for many, many years? It makes me suck that I squandered those priceless days.
I can hardly breathe through this sadness.
The night before I left for camp we all went to see her. I should have known. I must have known something was happening because my uncles were there. It was awkward because I didn’t have any time with her. At one point a chaplain came in and asked her if she wanted prayer and she said yes. I remember walking to the back of the room and trying not to cry – on some level I must have known she could die. But again, she told me to have fun at camp and that when I got home we would spend time together. I hugged her and said goodbye. But what I should have done is crawled in bed with her and wept.
I should have stayed with her when everyone was gone and told her she was immeasurably special to me. I should have told her how much I appreciated her letters and her love. I should have told her I loved her over and over again. I should have said goodbye, through these choking sobs, knowing it was the last time I’d ever hold her hand and see her again.
Instead, I walked out of her room holding back tears, kind of confused by my sadness, and I went to camp the next day.
A week later my mom left me a message that she died and what day her service would be on.
She left me a message! She couldn’t be bothered to pick me up for my grandmother’s visitation or funeral. She didn’t even tell me herself.
I missed my grandmother’s funeral.
A couple of years ago another of my grandmas died. She wasn’t a real grandmother, but I called her grandma and she was very special to me. My mom didn’t go to her service for some reason so I went alone. In retrospect that was pribsbly good because I cried for half the day. Tears just poured down my cheeks through the entire service. I couldn’t even stay to talk to anyone because I was so sad. I took a walk to look at her house and cried the while time. Then I went to Costco to buy a battery for my car and cried in the Tire Center.
I think I was grieving my Grandma Baker as much as my Grandma Lucy that day – but I didn’t know it.
Maybe in some way it is good I didn’t make it to my Grandma’s visitation. I was told I wouldn’t have recognized her again – it hadn’t even been 2 weeks! I would have been so upset by that. And, I don’t know how I would have handled my grief – I can’t imagine how I would have made it through.
Many times over the years I have missed her – the missing her never ends. She would have loved my boys. I wish she could know my family, and me as an adult. I especially wish I had known then all the things I know now, so I could have been with her.
I don’t know if she was saved. She believed in God and would have called herself a christian, but I don’t know if she had a relationship with the Lord. The idea that I may not see her again is unthinkably painful. I have such hope that we will meet in Heaven someday.
I miss her terribly tonight. I realize that in almost 19 years I haven’t grieved fully for her – in fact, I’m almost certain this is the first time I have cried for her. And it’s 2:30am now. I’ve typed this all from my phone while hiding under my covers trying not to wake Steve. I’ve soaked my pillow with my tears. My face hurts. My eyes are swollen.
I am exhausted from 2 hours of deep grieving. I think Jesus will let me rest now.