Sunday, April 8, 2018

G - Grandma

I got a message earlier this week that my grandmother had died. She was 97 years old and had been sick for a while, so it didn't come as a big surprise. However, it made me feel a little helpless being all the way on the other side of the world in China.

Grandma Mary Jane was my mother's mother. When I was very young, she lived in a mobile home behind our house. This was awesome because grandma (the lady with the cookies, the cool games, and the always running air conditioning) lived right next door. My father had a crippling fear of using any appliance that might raise the electric bill, so her house was a favorite in the summertime.

About the time I turned 10, she moved from behind our house in Illinois to Arizona. Like many old people, she felt the call to a warmer climate. However, instead of Florida, she opted for the desert. After that move, she really wasn't a part of my life anymore. I might see her once a year when she would come back to the Midwest in the wintertime to see all her kids, but that was about it.

Once she got significantly older, my mother and her siblings made the decision that grandma needed to come back to the Midwest to be closer to the family. She didn't want to come back, but there had been several medical scares and it was getting more and more difficult for her to care for herself.

She was in and out of the hospital and various nursing homes over the years. There were several years when we were told we needed to go to Missouri to spend Christmas with Grandma because this will be our last holiday with her, but somehow she always held on.

One year I came home from college to visit the family for the weekend and Mom suggested we all take a trip to see Grandma since I was home. My eyes got wide and I turned to my brother, "Grandma's still alive?!" I thought it was funny.

For a little more perspective on how this joke works let me mention that this happened in the mid-90's and we were already joking about how grandma would never die. She had been on her deathbed dozens of times and somehow always got well enough to even go back to her own home.

Look at that date again. The mid-90's!

That's over 20 years ago.

So, if we were already noticing the pattern back then, try to take a guess at how many more times this happened since then.

I know this sounds jaded, but she was a loved woman. She was just really good at teasing everyone, but 5 days ago the teasing came to an end. She met her end due to pneumonia that she just couldn't beat this time.

Fortunately, the last time I was in the States, I was flying out of St. Louis which is where my grandmother was in a nursing home. So, I got to see her last August.

She stomped me at cards.
Always did.

I'm glad I was able to get that last visit in. It was great to know that her mind stayed sharp right up until the end.

4 comments:

  1. Truly a blessing. And good to have perspective!

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    1. I'm glad we got to see her before leaving.

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  2. How recent is that pic? She looks very friendly and cheerful .

    May her soul rest in peace.

    Best wishes for the A to Z Challenge. Do drop by mine.

    CRD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That picture was taken last August. The last time I saw her.

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