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saying goodbye

On Friday we received news that my grandma was in the hospital.  An enormous brain aneurysm had burst, leaving her breathing on her own but unresponsive.  On Saturday morning I drove over to Ohio and was able to spend some time with family and to say goodbye to grandma.  On Sunday evening grandma passed away.

My grandma lived during some of the iconic periods of history – as a child of the Depression, a nurse in World War II, a 50s housewife.  She lost her fiancee to the war and then married my grandfather, whom she had known since grade school.  She was model-gorgeous as a young girl – long legs, wavy hair, brilliant smile.  She could grow anything and saved quite a few plants that my mom just about killed.  Her secret ingredient in potato salad was vanilla ice cream, which you’d think would be weird but made it divine.  She collected beach glass and lucky stones and driftwood.  She called the couch the “davenport.”  She made great kuchen (coffeecake) for breakfast.  She loved to read.  She was fiesty and independent – shortly after grandpa died she told me that she had climbed up on the cottage roof to re-tar a few shingles and “don’t tell anyone.”  She loved politics and being involved in the community.  She volunteered during elections and in her church choir.  She loved to smack our butts and kiss our cheeks.  She was very proud of her family.  She had a quick, sharp wit.  When we left the island on the ferry she would stand on the dock and do the biggest kisses and waves until we were too small to see anymore (this, more than anything, is how I still picture her, and what best encapsulates her spirit and love).

Over the last few years grandma slowly slipped away as Alzheimer’s overtook more and more of her memory.  But she still had her huge, gorgeous smile.  She was a beautiful lady and I wish there had been time for more conversations together, both as adults.  I’ll miss her very much.

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16 thoughts on “saying goodbye

  1. So sorry to hear this but what great memories! I’m in a similar situation. We’ve brought hospice in for my grandma and my mom (who is a hospice nurse) is trying to gently tell us its time to start saying our goodbyes. 😦 Even though they are old and have lived great lives, it’s still hard!! So glad you were able to be there to day goodbye.

  2. I’m glad you had time with family over the weekend, Kim. It is so hard to lose a grandparent. I love your description of her life; she is a woman I would have loved to know! Blessings on you and your family as the holidays approach.

  3. Oh, Kim, I am so sorry. But what a beautiful post! I lost my Grandmother last year, and this really sang to my heart today. Thanks for sharing her with us…

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I also lost a grandmother to Alzheimer’s, well complications of. It is unbelievably difficult to watch the person you know and love slowly forgetting their amazing life and those in it.

  5. Kim,
    Our deepest sympathies are extended to you and your family. Your written tribute to your Grandmother is beautiful. I’m sure she’s smiling in heaven, as she hears your words.

  6. I am so sorry that your Grandma left so suddenly. Huge hugs to you. And I absolutely love this post. So eloquent. As I was reading it, I felt like I knew your Grandma! She sounded like such a spirited, lovely lady! I love it when I hear people have this sort of relationship with their grandparents, because I know a few who don’t. So sorry she is gone, but I know her spirit lives on in you 🙂

  7. So sorry for your loss, Kim. Your grandmother sounds like she was an incredible woman. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  8. So sorry for your loss – your grandmother sounds like the one everyone wishes for! Love thinking of her waving and waving as your ferry leaves the island.

    Praying for your comfort,

    s

  9. What a great woman! It is great to know a little bit about the life of the woman who had a hand in making you who you are. I found myself, while reading this post, thinking that that is the type of woman I aspire to be. I’m very sorry for your loss, she is surely missed.

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