Today I went to see my grandmother in the hospital, to say my final goodbye. She has been very sick for about two years now. Her kidneys are failing, her liver is failing, she is unable to breathe on her own. The doctors said that it’s only the machines that are keeping her alive. On Friday they will be removing her from life support and her life will end.
I’m writing these words not because I am sad but in a way I am comforted that her struggle will soon be over. I’m not a believer and so I don’t believe she has some marvelous new life waiting for her on the other side. I don’t even believe that there is an “other side.” I just don’t want to see her in pain any more….
Growing up my grandmother was one of the strongest people who I knew. She was hard-headed, a great piano player, a ministers wife, a house painter, the most amazing cook I’ve ever known, and my most absolute favorite person on this Earth. My grandmother had a voice that was like no one else and she I remember sitting beside her during many church services, listening to her sing while she gave me Redhots from a small container she kept in her purse.
My grandmother taught me how to bait a hook and how to wait patiently for a fish to strike the bait. She was at every concert, band performance, and grandparents day that she was invited to, always waiting to give me a hug when it was over. I spent several weeks each summer at my grandparents house. Each morning we would go fishing, and every night we would watch “Wheel of Fortune” or play “Aggravation.”
I love my grandmother but I think she is better in my memory now. I’ve seen her lose the ability to walk, lose the ability to talk, lose the ability to care for herself. I’ve watched as health issues destroyed her body and dementia took her mind. In a lot of ways I mourned for her more over the last couple of years than I have today. It was a sad day but I still have all the happy memories of my grandmother, in my head and in my heart.
This was the last truly happy photo I have of my grandmother. She had just been placed in a nursing home after they had found that she had dementia. She wanted so badly to have her hair permed, having always done it herself, but the price that the nursing home was charging, $40 dollars, was out of her price range. I went to the nursing home and paid to have her hair permed as a surprise. She was so happy that night when I went to see her.
In remembrance of her I am going to share a gospel song. I loved hearing her sing this song. Even though I am no longer a believer, I will still hold this song in a happy place. She sang it far more beautifully than you can imagine.
I love you Grandma. Goodbye.