19 November 2013

Life evolves...

Life evolves and then it ends... This statement is not meant to alarm, it is merely a fact.

My grandmother, 'Nan' passed away a week ago. I was with her as she left us and moved on. She was ready she wanted to go and was, I believe, waiting for my mom before she left. There were four generations in that room as she passed and while it was a peaceful transition, it was and is difficult to see, and to convey what it felt like to watch as she took her last breath.

It was a surprise to many that she passed. But I knew the moment I laid eyes on her in that hospital bed that she would not be returning home. She had been admitted for a minor complaint, nothing life threatening had raised anyone's concern, but to look at her was to see life leaving her. When the nurse was called because we suspected she was not breathing she chirped to my mother ' well let's just see what's going on shall we?' It was shock pure and simple on her face when she entered the room and touched her hand to my Nan's chest. It's a scene I am trying to erase, not because I want her back, she is truly where she wanted to be now, but because it was painful to see my mother and my daughter gripped with sorrow and shock.

My daughter and my Nan

I loved my grandmother, but to say that we had a warm and fuzzy relationship would be a lie. She was cool, showed clear favorites among her grandchildren, had a tendency to speak harshly of others, was not terribly tolerant of opposing or alternate lifestyles, and said what she thought whether it was appropriate or not. When I found myself pregnant at 16 she wrote me a harsh letter speaking of her disappointment and how she thought I should handle things, admonishing me that 'it was not this baby's fault that he or she was being brought into this world'  It was that baby who witnessed her leaving this earth a week ago.

I loved my grandmother. I have few memories of her as a child, none that involve hugs or playful experiences, but a few snapshots that I will hold dear. And though she could be a bit of an old crag, and never did I hear her say so, she loved her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren.

A grandmother is a constant to many, and she was to me, the matriarch of our family, the glue that kept us all together, and now that she is gone one wonders what will happen to our extended family? Will we drift? She was always the conduit of information between the four siblings and their children. She was how I knew my cousins were engaged, expecting, moving, had given birth...she was the operator in our family, she had all the information. And so while she may not have been a warm fuzzy Nan, she will be missed. I will miss her.

Sometimes you don't understand someone until you look back on them, and this is how I feel today looking back on my grandmother's life. It was not an easy one, from the depression to raising four children alone while my granddad was in the Sanatorium recovering from Tuberculosis to outliving three grand-daughters, to caring for her husband as he died from lung and liver cancer, she saw so much in her life, overcame it all and lived independently until the day she entered the hospital three days before she died. She was strong...and I hope I have a little of that in me...I think I do.

So...life evolves, it has highs and lows, happy and sad times, easy and hard times, and then it ends

Goodbye Nan...I loved you...I always will.

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