Thursday, November 17, 2016
Home for the Holiday
I think I told you all that the plan was to have Thanksgiving at Grandma's. As of last Easter, her traveling for any kind of get together was out of the question. Now, there is a big hospital bed in the middle of the living room and that's where she is 24/7. I still shudder to think if any part of her is able to see and comprehend what is going on but not vocalize it, that the thought of her being in that situation would just destroy what is left of her pride. I've tried not to think about it but now we're a week away so it's right there for me to face.
When I checked to confirm the menu and time, I was told that we would be decorating the house for Christmas after dinner. They haven't decorated for about 10 years as it is so my suspicion is they assume this will be her last holiday season. I don't know if it will be her last holiday at home or the last one period but given they were adamant to her husband that the decorating would be happening and to basically shut it and go with the flow tells me we're near the next stage. Whatever that may be.
I was asked if there were any special requests and I told them they needed to make sure her special ornament she treasured was on the tree or if they didn't think she would want it out to possibly be damaged to at least show it to her. They said I would get the honor of showing it to her and hanging it just as we'd hung it together so many times when I was a child and she'd tell me the story behind it. If no one claims it, I want it to hang on my tree front and center when she's gone. I used to love helping her decorate her tree and she showed me how to meticulously lay the tinsel and it's because of her that I still do tinsel on my tree. I know it's gone out of style but I don't care, I feel connected to her when I do that and always smile when I'm draping it.
I am very aware that due to our being out of town for Christmas this year that this could potentially be the last holiday I get to spend with her. I am heartbroken of course but I also want her to be at peace. I felt like Christmas 2013 was the last Christmas I got any small sense of her and I knew that was going to be it. So next Thursday, I will say goodbye to her not in spoken words of course but in my soul. If she allows me to hug and kiss her when I leave, I know it could be for the last time. I don't expect to make it to the car without becoming a puddle. I have these wonderful holiday memories of the past that are like little gifts to me now when faced with the potential of the last holiday with her. If she could understand me and I was able to tell her my final goodbye, it would go something like this...
Grandma, I cannot even begin to tell you what you have meant to me. When someone told me over the summer that I looked like a younger version of you, it was one of the greatest compliments I've received. You have always been beautiful, poised, had high expectations and believe in me in a way I never dared believe in myself. You accepted things about me that I didn't share with others and supported me in a way I've never gotten before. Even if we differed in opinion, you were always respectful of my view and never made me feel wrong. I have regrets of time I didn't spend with you because I was spoiled with having you my whole life so I took for granted you'd always be there. We get so wound up in our own lives and don't make enough time for those we love the most. Time we wish we could get back if we only knew what lay ahead. But please know, you were always in my heart. You have always been the best parts of my childhood and my most trusted friend as an adult. Some of my best qualities are because of things you taught me or traits you passed on. I might look in the mirror a little more often now but not out of vanity but because when I miss your eyes looking at me, I will see them staring back at me and I will know that you are always with me. Thank you for being my grandma, my friend and my inspiration. I love you.
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