If you’ve been reading for a while, you will remember that my grandmother had a massive stroke back in mid-November.  It was deemed terminal and unsurvivable, and we all pretty much expected that it would be only a matter of days before she passed.  I called my aunt, and she held the phone up to my Grandma’s ear and I was able to tell her I loved her.  I then braced myself every day to get a call that she was gone.

However, that is not what happened.

Even at 100 years old, after a massive stroke, she managed to get some speech back, and even learned to walk a bit and feed herself.  Hospice was called in, but was then sent away because she strangely seemed to be getting better instead of worse.  She was still in need of a lot of care, which my Aunt Linda and Aunt Nancy lovingly provided.  She did have some odd lapses, such as being able to remember the names of her first three kids, but calling her youngest daughter, my Aunt Linda, a variety of names, including Elizabeth, Lawrence, and Norman (and when my Aunt would correct her she would just say “No.”).  But in general, she seemed surprisingly strong and lucid for what she had been through.

She did start to have worse days in December, and last week my parents called to tell me that she was showing signs of this being the end.  My grandma even told my aunt she thought she would die on this past Sunday.  But again, that didn’t happen.  Today though, I got a call from my Dad telling me she passed away at 3:30pm.

I’m feeling so many things – grief, relief that she is not suffering anymore, joy that I knew her and that she is with my grandfather again, who passed away when I was in high school.  I am so grateful to my aunts who cared for her at the end and made her passing loving and peaceful.

And it hit me tonight that I don’t have any more living grandmothers.  I know I’ve been searching for ways to create more space in my life, but this is one area where I would have liked things to remain full.

I love you Grandma, and I’ll miss you.  I’m so grateful you were mine.

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Alta Faye Smith (at 20 yrs. old)
October 13th, 1913 – Jan. 8th, 2014

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