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.
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.
Grandma kept telling her how much she loved her.
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,