January 12, 1930- January 21, 2009
This is not an obituary...sorry, just wanting to share the last few days spent with my Grandma with you as we will always hold them very special in our hearts!!! I think I mentioned in a previous blog that Hospice was called in to admit her the Monday before she passed away. I sometimes can be very scheduled with my girls (sometimes I think it's more structure for me than them!!!) and that Monday after their dance class I wanted nothing more than to go home, feed, bathe, and put them to bed! But when my sister called to say that Hospice was at her house I felt a sense of urgency to let my girls have one more evening with their "Oma" (german for grandma) in case this was her last evening alert, able to talk, and enjoy them. We ate dinner together as a family and the evening was no different than any other time at her house! The girls were running through the house, laughing, screaming, and having a blast......she didn't care one single bit!!! I often wonder what goes through these precious little heads, they knew she was sick and I think in their own ways very sad. Kayden decided that night she HAD to say a little special pray for Oma sitting as close to her as she could. All the girls were able to hug her, say goodbye, and she kissed each of them....telling them with the little energy she had that she loved them. We tucked her into bed and while mom was calling Hospice back because Grandma's breathing was getting worse Kayden got up by her ear and sang "You are my Sunshine"....(which I also previously blogged on) as this was a special song to all of us. With one big breath Gram was able to sing one sentence with her.......that memory will stay with me for ever!!!! Tuesday I went over and was able to spend the whole day with her. Mom, Marylin, and I gave her a good bed bath. We got her out to the couch, and just sat with her....telling her we loved her, holding her hand, laying our heads against her warm soft face, and just embracing the time we had....trying to soak up every single moment! Hospice came back that day and just reminded Mom that her time on this earth was short. We called Karlie (my youngest sister) to come to Chattanooga from Knoxville and she was able to find a bus ride that next day to be with Grandma. After Hospice leaving and giving her medications, Grandma was never conscious again, she was breathing but never really talked anymore. Tuesday evening we all ate dinner at her house. Chaotic as it seemed to be bringing the kids back again we knew our time was coming to an end. Wednesday morning Kristi and I went back to her house even though we both contemplated going home to get some house work done but reminded each other that we may not have another day with her. Once again, hate the laundry that I am dealing with today but thankful for that last day. We along with Mom and Marylin (gram's caretaker) just sat in her room ALL day. Reading poems that Grandma had written, going through pictures, and just talking in her ear even though she was not conscious. Kristi left early Wednesday afternoon to get Taylor from school and pick Karlie up from the bus stop. In that short time Grandma's breathing was getting slower and having longer periods of apnea (not breathing). Karlie and Kristi got back to Grandma's quickly and the 4 of us (being me, mom, Kristi, and Karlie) sat around her bed and just let her know we where there and when/if she was ready to go we were ok. We sang hymns and read from the Bible. We sang again "You are my Sunshine" and as Mom was reading the "Lord's Prayer" she took her last breath. It was peaceful for it just to be the 5 of us in her room with the door closed, yet we sat there and wept at the loss of a GREAT woman who will be tremendously missed. (let me mention that the time from Karlie getting to Gram's side until she passed was a matter of 15 minutes. We know she was holding on to allow Karlie to say good-bye) I will blog later on our time in Michigan (this is where we had the services and she was buried by her husband, daughter, son-in-law, son, and grandson).
I did want to share what I read at the funeral service:
I am not a writer so you'll have to forgive me if my words are not organized, I am speaking from my heart. I am privileged to say that I had the 2 most loving grandparents who were able to share in some of the greatest moments of my life. For many years I never put thought into my grandparents dying. I know that people get sick and grow old but I never dwelt on it. We are a very tight knit family and they were the foundation of that. When my grandfather died it shook our world up. I have come to see and trust God's hand in situations I "thought" I knew more about. One of the most recent being the death of my grandfather, because we have been able to have 2 1/2 wonderful years with my grandma whose life was overtaken by 4 active great grand-daughters whom she adored!!! Her house was filled with loud laughter, chaos, toys hanging from ceiling, juice spilt, sticky fingers rubbing clean glass, and more but she never got upset. She just relished in each moment she spent with them. God is good and I hope my girls can carry all the memories of "Oma" with them like I do!! My grandmother did nothing 1/2 way. She lived life to the fullest and loved with all her heart. She loved her family, friends, and church. She didn't just plant a couple flowers, she had flower beds that everyone enjoyed to see and smell. She had huge garden's that we ate from on into the cold winter months. She loved writing letters and poems. She loved to sew, knit, and crochet and we have beautiful things made by her hands to use for years to come. She loved to play games, especially scrabble and has been known to have worn 3 grand daughters out with wanting to play too much!!! Anything to learn and use her mind. She loved cooking and baking and loved watching us enjoy her food! When my grandma had her stroke 3 1/2 months ago we were doubtful she would eat by herself, talk well, let alone walk. Once again she showed us she does nothing 1/2 way and by the time she left rehab she was eating alone, talking, and walking. Maybe not as well but she gave it her all. We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with her, reminded again that life is fragile and we were grateful to be together as a family. We celebrated her birthday and 3 out of 4 of her great grand daughters. She willed herself to be at each celebration as weak and tired as her body was. Then last Wednesday afternoon in the quiet safety of her home while taking her last breaths she lay in bed surrounded by 4 women who loved, respected, and thought the world of her. Were we crying and sad? Absolutely, but just as my grandmother did nothing 1/2 way she loved and served her God whole heartidly and we know we will see her again soon in Heaven. For those of you who visited my grandparents you know they followed you outside and waved good bye until they could no longer see you. So as the funeral home came to take my grandma away we felt it only appropriate to follow her outside and wave.....saying we will see you again soon! That night as my oldest daughter said her bedtime prayers she prayed "Jesus please bring my Oma back" and what a wonderful day that will be!! To be reunited in Heaven where life will be pure bliss!! I know my grandma would beg each of you to PLEASE be ready and meet her there!!! I love you grandma!