A year ago I stopped by to see my sweet Gram...who was falling fast from this life... and I chose to work, laptop open, instead of hold her hand and sit by her side. I think at the time I thought that there would be another chance. There is always another chance. So I worked. There is a part of me that does not like change, and on this day, one year ago...I saw my Gram change. No longer was there any bit of a smile. No longer was there any animation. There was just the last bits of life hanging on with a sense of the end. Still, I worked on. I stayed with her until she went to bed. Saw the sweet nurses tuck her in, and tell her that they loved her. I saw them kiss her forehead and tell her to sleep. It was so easy for them. So so easy. When they left I had my opportunity to reach down and hold my Gram's warm hand and tell her how much I loved her, right before she fell asleep. But I couldn't do it. I shut down my laptop, and said "Goodnight Gram..." and took my things and drove back home.
All night I thought about her, and made the resolution to stop by first thing in the morning and make it right. I drove straight to the care facility, and quickly got out and made my way upstairs to her room. It was breakfast time, so if she wasn't in her room, she would be eating with the group. I passed a nice nurse getting off the elevator, she smiled at me. It was a perfect day, the sun was just starting to come out and the morning was calm. I found Gram's room and put my fingers around the knob to open the door. But it was locked. I do have an angel. She was there with me at that moment. The moment I knew that I was too late. The nurse who answered the door to my Gram's room said that I had just missed her slipping off to heaven....and that I would need to wait out in the hallway...for my family to arrive. I wonder if I have ever cried so hard, as I sunk to the floor, hugged my knees, and felt sorrow so deep that it bruised my heart. For several minutes it was just me, and the hallway, and a box of kleenex. I missed her so bad. I still do. I miss her on nice days like today, when the sun is just coming up. She always liked a nice spring day.
So today I say to my Gram, "I am so sorry I did not stay. I know that you never liked to be alone. So sorry. I love you...and miss you. I still honk at your house when I drive by, I still can't pour a bowl of Lucky Charms without thinking of you...I still am grateful so often for the memories of sleepovers and getting tucked in to the hide-a-bed with the red afghan.
And Gram..my Maggie Olivia carries on your name - and I could feel you smiling when I talked Kory into Olivia (for your first name of Olive). That was a good day."
Somewhere in heaven there is a spring day. There are new tomato plants, and tiny buds on peach trees, there are bright tulips and brilliant green grass.There are sunsets that would take your breath away, and sunrises to live for. And somewhere there is a choir of angels singing. With one angel...singing very loudly, and very off key...and that angel is my Gram. :)