Monday, December 5, 2011

Grandma Mary - Our Last Visit, A Peaceful Passing

I just got back from one of the hardest, yet most blessing-filled weekends of my life. I need to blog about this weekend before I forget any details. I want to look back at this post and be reminded of God's mercy, grace and love during this difficult weekend. 

It all started with a homeschool field trip to Pendleton I had planned that Friday. We thought since we were already over there and my husband was gone for drill, we would stay with my mom and do some ice skating and such. Of course, we always try to get a visit in with my grandma who lives in an assisted living apartment in the same town. It had been a long day what with the all-day field trip, and I was pretty tired and was debating on if I should take the kids to see her Friday night or wait until the next evening. Mom and I talked about it and decided Friday would be best. I'm so glad that was what I did or I would have had some serious regrets.

Now my grandma hadn't allowed me to take any pictures of her since she got so sick and almost died 6 months ago. She miraculously slowly but surely got better. At the last minute, I felt prompted to grab my camera because I was hoping she would allow me to take some pictures of her and the kids. When I asked her, she didn't feel self-conscious about it, so I went for it! What blessing that did. Here is my grandma with the kids. It was the first time I had seen her dressed in something besides a nightgown in 6 months. She was 82 years old and barely had any grey hair, even with all she had been through this last year.  We talked about how great she was doing and how good she looked. She was walking around and so cheerful.

She has always loved animated Christmas toys and pics up a few each year. She has quite a collection now and she so enjoyed watching the kids play each one. I love this picture of pure joy on her face as she laughed with the kids. I can still hear that laugh so clearly. I will treasure this picture always.

Hailey watching the snowman and the dog dance to Christmas music.

This was Josiah's favorite. It was a reindeer shaking the bars of his cell while it played "Grandma got run over by a reindeer". Little did he know he would be taking it home by the end of that weekend.

Hailey always loves to snuggle with Grandma. 

More snuggles. 
Grandma kept telling her how much she loved her. 

One of the things I think is very strange is that she gave me a funny letter that my mom had written to her in 1982. She carried it around in her purse and showed it to many people throughout the years. It was so strange that she insisted I take it that night.

After I was done taking the pictures, I had to remind her to put her oxygen back on. She called the nurse for a couple of pain pills as we were leaving. Our last words to each other were literally "I love you so much."

The next morning we got a call from the assisted living home. She had died during the night. It was so shocking. We all expected it 6 months ago, but now? We thought she was going to have a few more years. We just saw her. She was doing so good! My son was devastated. It is the first time he has had a loved one die. Hailey kept saying to me in her sweet little voice, "Mommy, don't cry. We will see GG Mary in heaven". What a wonderful reminder from the lips of my four year old.

When my mom got her apartment, it was clear that Grandma had died in peace. She asked the nurse on duty if she had her oxygen on when she found her. She said no, it wasn't on. Then we understood. She had to take her oxygen off to get her nightgown on and when she did, she forgot to put the oxygen back on after she got dressed. She climbed into bed and went to sleep and slowly stopped breathing. What a way to go. Happy, full of life, knowing she was loved and cared for, she just slipped away into the arms of Jesus.

I'm blessed to have such a caring family. My sister and Aunt immediately drove up to stay the weekend, grieve, remind each other of all the blessings, laugh, reminisce and work together to take care of all the details. It was so hard going back into that apartment the next day and not hearing the familiar, "Come in!". The beautiful quilt that we were just discussing the night before lay on her empty bed.

It is going to take awhile to adjust to this. I'm grateful for the wonderful memories from this weekend and the pictures I have to remember her by. I found the journal I gave her last Christmas. I had written in the first page, "Grandma, tell me your story". She wrote in detail about her childhood. She got up to age 18. Again, another gift to hold on to. My grandma loved Christmas! It is going to be difficult this season, but even as we grieve, we will continue to look for the blessings. I praise God for His hope. For his perfect plan of Salvation so that we can claim that hope!

Please pray for us as we continue to process this. It is all so raw at the moment. I know time will heal. I hope you can see what a wonderful, loving woman she was though these pictures. I hope those angels watch out, because there is a woman riding her dirt bike up there in a red leather jacket and eating as many chicken wings as she can!

Grieving, But Blessed,


Robin said...

*hug* Bitter yet sweet. You're in my prayers.

OurLilFullFam said...

I am praying, what wonderful pictures. You can see her joy for life in her smile, what a party she must be having right now with Jesus!

I know how hard it is, but keep thinking about the good things and it will get better. This is our first Christmas (and the Thanksgiving we just had) without my grandma and I keep thinking about all the fun and rejoicing she is having celebrating Jesus face to face and just cannot be sad for her.

Praise God for his sweet mercies and allwoing you to have those precious pictures!


Jenn said...

Oh Jackie, my heart aches for you, but I also rejoice with you! Grandma Mary is in the arms of Jesus now! Praying for you and your family!

Nadine said...

Dear Jackie,

Please know that I am praying for you and your family!
I can relate, as we visited with my Grandma one week before she passed away...I was so happy we got to see her before she went home to be with our Lord!
May God grant your family peace during this season.


Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

such a loving post. I loved the last part and couldn't help smiling through the tears.

What a weekend.

I love you so much.

Ellen said...

Praying for you & your family Jackie. I'm so sorry for your loss. ♥

MommaMindy said...

I'm so thankful you listened to the prompting of the Lord and went for that last visit. What a joy to have those final words and hugs. I'm glad there is no more suffering and pain for her for now, but will pray for the family that is now suffering with her loss.

Lizzy said...

My heart breaks for you, Stacie, and your family. It sounds like your grandmother was one of a kind, and so loving. What a blessing that you were able to see her before she passed. I will be praying for you guys and hope that you feel God's loving presence in all of this.
<3 Liz

Brenda said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, Jackie. What a blessing that you were able to spend time with her on Friday. Hugs to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

i am so sorry. i am glad you can peace during this time. as your dd said you will see her in heaven. ~blessings

Camille said...

(((HUGS))) to you my friend! I'm sorry for your earthly loss...but, I am so encouraged to learn that she was the LORD's!

I'm going to be having a break from blogging over, I did just want to wish you and your family a wonderful time celebrating the REAL reason for it all!


Jill said...

I'm all misty eyed reading this...what a beautiful post and you know they say one knows when it is their time to go "home". I am so sorry for your loss, but what a wonderful, peaceful way to go home to our God. She was truly blessed! The pictures are wonderful, I love the one of her laughing and holding Hailey. True blessings! Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Sending big hugs and warm wishes.


Anonymous said...

Just got a chance to read this. So sorry, Jackie. What a blessing that you got 6 more months with her. I pray that the Lord brings you special blessings this Christmas despite your loss.

Yuri Richardson said...

My wife often says that as we grow older what we are on the inside shows more and more on the outside.

Your Grandma's countenance shows kindness love and happiness. What more can anyone ask for?

May your days and those of all your loved ones be filled with the same attributes.

Thanks for sharing your gains and losses.

Shalom In Yahshua (Jesus)


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