This morning I was awoken to some sad news - my beloved Grandma has passed away. It wasn't a shock, we'd been expecting it for quite some time. But it still hurts. You see, we just lost my Grandpa on March 14th.
He died after a courageous battle with cancer. Right up until his last night on Earth, he was still Grandpa, still witty and trying to smile. I'm forever glad I saw him on that last night.
Grandma was different. In the weeks following his death, her dementia worsened, and she was hospitalized. Slowly, the disease ate away at her brain, changing her in unnatural ways. Her memory suffered, and the things she used to love doing, disappeared. She stopped knowing who my kids were, and I could tell she struggled to remember me. But that was okay.
Then the unthinkable happened. November 20th she had a stroke. I was urged to say goodbye not long after that. The stroke had done enough damage that it completely changed her. She looked like Grandma on the outside, but was anyone but on the inside. So I did the hardest thing I've ever had to do - I said goodbye to someone who was still very much alive. I held her hand, I shared with her many memories, I cried beside her. Then I prayed over and said goodbye.
We started our death watch at that point.
I went once to visit Grandma, but only as a support for my mom. In the six weeks from her stroke to that point, she had changed so much. It was unbearable as a granddaughter to watch that, and to see how it was affecting my mother. I can't even imagine the pain of witnessing that as a child to a parent. It breaks my heart.
This week the doctors gathered my mom and her siblings to prepare them. They gave her a week at most, likely a couple days. We knew the bitter end was coming. The kids and I prayed.
And then it happened. It doesn't matter that we knew, and had mentally/emotionally prepared ourselves. It still hurts like hell. The matriarch of our family is gone, and with it, it leaves a huge void in all our hearts. Family gatherings will never be the same.
But I know, deep in my heart, that Grandma and Grandpa are together again. At least for now, that brings me peace.