04 September 2012



It's a funny thing.

No matter how prepared you think you are, no matter how expected it may be, no matter that everyone, every single person, will experince it at some point in their lives, when it happens, well, nothing is ever quite the same.

I can go hours without issue, just settling back into the every day routines of our life, but then there's that moment, a memory, a glimpse of a momento, or a random comment, and there it is. Loss. Just crashing over you in a wave of grief.

This was an expected loss. When I last posted two weeks ago, I was praying for the reminder that even as we prepared our final goodbyes, even in the midst of loss and heartache, that I would remember that there will be moments of absolute peace too.

But what wasn't expected was how quickly the loss came. Or the fact that it didn't come the way we'd all prayed for.

Two weeks ago, in the afternoon, we thought we had more than six months, but less than a year to say our goodbyes. By the time I went to bed that same day, Grandma had already been admitted to hospice in the hospital.

I learned a lot of lessons in these days. But most importantly, I learned, you die as you lived. Some go quietly, some go alone, some go surrounded by family, some go peacefully, and some go fighting.

And that Grandma of mine, well, if you ever met her, even for a few moments, you'd know feisty and stubborn were the cornerstones of her personality. She was sweet and loving and thoughtful, but above all else, she was feisty.

So when I first heard "you die as you lived," I knew even in her last days, even with all the pain she was in from her rampant cancer, even with her memory loss and confusion from Alzheimer's, I knew she wasn't leaving without a fight: I was right.

But in the midst of the heartbreak and the loss, there were blessings too. Bittersweet, to be sure, but gifts all the same.

Everyone made it home in time to say good bye to Grandma and tell her that we love her. She went surrounded by love, on her own terms. Joe was an incredible support for me while I tried my best to support my parents and my brothers. We got a few moments of genuine recognition from Grandma, where she knew who we were and just why she loved us. There were beautiful views and stunning sunsets every night just to remind us life does go on. I was able to bring Grandma some comfort in ways that only I could. We learned how generous and understanding people are when they realize you're grieving. And we know, without a doubt, Grandma's been reunited with my Papa. Finally.

We're going to miss Grandma. No doubt about that. But as my brother said, "Rest in Peace Grandma. Love you. Best thing you ever did was give birth to my mom. Thank you." She may be gone, but her love lives on. 

** All images just one of the many stunning sunsets we saw from Grandma's hospital room window. Such a beautiful reminder of life.**


Karen C said...

Oh Katie, I wish I could give you a big hug and just sit with you in silence or quietly listening to the stories you feel the need to tell. I'm so glad you had the time to be there and say goodbye well.
I think your Grandma and mine would have been good friends and I know how much I still miss my Grandma. The years have definitely lessened how often that wave of grief hits. More often now, I first remember how grateful I am that she was there, rather than how sad I am that she's gone.
Not long after my Grandpa died, I remember commenting to my mom that it was weird because somehow it hurt less after they were both gone. The hole in my life was bigger, but it was the right shape.
Sending you many thoughts of peace, comfort and strength.

KT Mac said...

Karen - thank you so much. I know I'm a lucky girl...I've had SO much support and comfort from my friends, you included.
You said it far better than I ever could - the hole is indeed bigger, but is the right shape now that I know they're finally together. Oddly enough, even though it's been 14 years since Papa passed, Grandma passed just three days short of that 14 year anniversary. I have no doubt whatsoever Papa gladly welcomed her home.
And who knows? Maybe our grandparents are friends wherever they are. :)

Mb said...

These photos are beautiful and tie into your post so well. The sun sets on life, and in your grandmother's case, it was a beautiful one. The love you all shared will keep her memory alive.

KT Mac said...

Thanks Mb! I was awed by how perfect these sunsets were every night. Mom and I had a long conversation about how much Grandma loved pink sky sunsets and how fitting it was that she went out with a week's worth of them to celebrate.