Tuesday, July 17, 2012
This is a hard thing to write about in my blog, but I really needed to jot down my thoughts and emotions.
I am not sure if I have talked or wrote about my grandparents much on this blog. In my journal, yes, but here I am not even sure. I am so fortunate to have four amazing grandparents still alive. They have all played a major, and when I say major I mean MAJOR, role in my life. I have grown up having them involved in my life all the time. They have never been, but a few miles away from me (other than my college years) and I feel like I have really taken advantage of that.
A few months ago around Thanksgiving my grandma got shingles. That is not a fun thing to have. Her whole life since I was born has been battling different types of sickness and trials. We actually moved here from Kentucky because she was so ill, and am I ever happy we did that. She has had a shunt put in for her brain, she has had a hip replacement twice once just a year ago or so, she has taken so many antibiotics that her mouth is so torn up from them. Needless to say, she has had a rough go. But still through all of this she was the best grandma. I am sure that sounds cliche, but seriously, she is.
Since she got the shingles she has kind of gone down hill from there. In fact a few weeks ago we heard that she had dementia. We haven't seen her since she had gotten shingles because since they were in her eye, her eye has been swollen closed and doesn't look so great. She always has to have her hair done, make up on, jewels on, coordinating outfits, the whole shebang. She did not want the kids to see her with her eye as it was, so we waited. Finally after hearing that she was going down hill, we just went down there. She was so grateful. The kids were very confused and kept saying she looked so different and she did. She was in her house robe, her hair is longer, no make up or jewels and her poor eye still looks bad. It took the kids a while to get used to her looks, but they got over it and all was well.
The good news was that day she seemed like her self, just a little tired, which can be expected. However, she is on meds for the dementia and today they stopped by while they were up this way and she did not seem as if she was doing as well, although I do know she was very tired today. Just not the same.
For the past three or so months anytime I would think about her I was quickly rushed with all the love that she has shown me and the love that I felt. All the memories she has created for me would be so clear as if I were 13 again. I would quickly develop tears. Partly because I am just so so grateful I have had this kind of grandma in my life and partly because that chapter is over. I can honestly say that I have never felt more accepted, more loved, more appreciated, more valued than I have by her. I see myself praising my kids and hearing her voice. She has passed that on through me and I am so happy for that.
Now don't get me wrong my Grandma is feisty. She was the youngest of 13 kids or something crazy like that and I am sure that has something to do with it. She was demanding at times and ruthless at times, but never did I ever feel anything other than love from her.
A few months ago my mom brought me a box of things from my childhood and there was a little china doll in there that I was hoping to find. It was a little baby china doll that has been my favorite forever and she is laying in a little cradle. When I was in Jr. high or high school whenever her and my grandpa would come over she would go upstairs to my room and leave me a $2 dollar bill. I would check that cradle almost every time I would come home just to see if they stopped by. I have always cherished that memory just knowing she was thinking about me even when I was not there. All those two dollar bills are still in there and it is a true treasure to me.
Another fun memory I have is having her as my shopping buddy. I have no idea even what we went shopping for and what we got, but I can't count the numerous times we headed out on a shopping spree to get her the latest perfume she wanted, or new towels, or whatever it was she had to have. We would always go to Dillard's to their cafe and get the French Onion Soup. Still till this day I think of those days when I even see the words French Onion Soup. I can smell it, i can taste it. We would always go somewhere to get a soda too because she would say, "I am dry, let's get a drink." I could not keep up with her most days...
She was unbelievably reliable. Her and my grandpa would always be the ones that would stay with us when my parents would go out of town. My brown bag lunch was never better. She would get that ham and cheese loaf, which now makes me literally want to puke, but I loved it then, a FULL size candy bar, chips and pretty much anything else we wanted. They made it to practically every softball game, every game I cheered, every music contest or concert, every musical or play I was in. Every thing. They were there. Every birthday, every holiday, every everything. In fact because she was sick this past Christmas it was the first time in my entire 33 years that we have not spent it at their house. It was weird. For sure.
My grandma was truly a grandma. She is the epitome of grandma, what every grandma wants to be, she was. AS I am getting older I am realizing she was not only the worlds best Grandma, which is what it says on the watch I gave her years and years ago, but she is truly a friend. Not just any kind of friend either. The best kind. The kind that are hard to find and come by, the kind that always last, the kind that you can always count on. That kind.
I remember some time ago talking to a friend whose mom has Alzheimer's and honestly saying, that I would wish cancer upon my mother over Alzheimer's, which I know is a harsh statement. Not that I want my mom to have either, but if I had to chose one that is the one I would chose. I would want her leaving the world knowing my love for her and our memories right in her mind. It is hard knowing that soon all these memories I have talked about with my grandma will only be mine and not hers any more, but I know that as soon as her life is over here on earth, they will all come back to her, to her body made whole again, to brain as clear as ever and she will smile and know that I love her more than words can really even express.
I am so grateful to a Heavenly Father who saw it fit to bless me with parents who love me beyond the word love and grandparents who I cherish. I am grateful as I was growing up to have my Grandma there. I am grateful to have the knowledge that families can be forever. It does not end after this life. We can be together forever. Even as her body and mind are fading, I know it won't last forever.
Even though I know my grandma will never read this simply because she does not have a computer, but thank you. Thank you for teaching what it is like to love unconditionally, to cherish relationships and how to show it. I will forever be in debt to you. I love you grandma, very much.