The sand ran out of the hour glass today. I got the message I had been both expecting and dreading. Two weeks after entering hospice care (and one week after the rest of us found out), my Grandma is gone.
She passed quietly in her sleep sometime in the morning. We spent the afternoon with my grandpa, trying to gauge how well he was really doing because his words said he was fine, but his tears threatened to betray him several times. They were married for 64 years. He cared for her for the 27 years since she became paralyzed. Even as his own health faltered. Even as he battled esophageal cancer last year. We helped, but he never stopped doing what needed to be done for her. He has always been the stern authority type guy, not showing much emotion to the rest of us, but his world revolved around grandma.
My mom was telling me recently about the days in the hospital when grandma first became paralyzed. She had been there with grandma and grandpa had been gone, but when he got back, he went straight to the bedside and was talking to grandma, telling her "please don't leave me" and "I need you". It was such a tender moment that mom felt weird being in the same room even though these were her parents. They just had not shown those kind of emotions in front of others. Later when she asked her dad what they were going to do he simply said "Whatever it takes. What ever she wants, she'll get. Whatever it takes to give her a good quality of life." I will say he honored every syllable of those words.
Through the years, he went to physical therapy sessions with her. He learned how to exercise her at home. He learned about medicines he had never heard of. He had a pool put in so she could do water therapy at home. When she could no longer get into the pool from her wheelchair, he had a lift built. He also had a lift built across their room so she could be lifted from the bed for showers and such. He dressed her. He fed her. He changed her diapers.
In the early days of her paralysis, when she could still use a walker, they didn't slowed down. They still went on trips. They even went on a missionary trip to the Ukraine. They liked basketball and attended not only the College games but were also supporters of the team from the local high school.
It has been a long, winding and wild road. There has been so much that has happened. And just like that, it is over. Time stopped. The last grain of sand slipped through the narrow neck of the hourglass. We knew it would happen. We just weren't prepared for it to be so soon.
Now we are left to grieve, get through all the formalities of death and prepare for that one last final goodbye....
Grandma, I do love you. I hope you're proud of all us. I hope you see that your daughter has your strength. I hope you see your son-in-law genuinely cared about you. I hope you see your grandkids, loved you for who you were, not what you had. I hope you see what great people your great grandkids are turning out to be.
I hope you are dancing....