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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Remembering Grandma

My grandmother died yesterday morning. She was 93...it was expected. I'm actually surprised she held on this long. Unfortunately, my last memory of her was not great.

I went to see her at the hospital with my dad. She didn't look good at all. She was sitting in a chair next to the hospital bed with a tray full of uneaten food in front of her. She had completely stopped eating and it was obvious. We knew her memory was not good and that she had a habit of asking the same questions over and over again. We humored her anyway. But when she started talking about the wedding, that's when the discomfort set in for me and I knew she was getting worse.

It was a rainy Saturday evening. She asked about how the weather had been. Dad said it had been nice earlier. She said how nice it would be for the wedding. Both my dad and me were a little unsure of what she was talking about, but we kept on. Then she began asking about how we were getting to the wedding and where we were staying. She even went on to say that she didn't have anything to wear to the wedding and she couldn't believe she even came for the wedding. She also pointed out how excited she was to see my kids at the wedding. At this point, I knew she had lost it.

What wedding was she talking about, you ask? Well, we're not really sure. We do know that she wasn't talking about any recent wedding, that's for sure. My dad's guess was that she was probably remembering some other wedding that we all had to travel for. My cousin was married like 6 years ago and we all had to travel. Maybe that's what she was remembering.

She was a different woman back then. It's hard to believe that 6 years can age a person that much. But, I guess at that age, 6 years is like a lifetime. No one could believe that she was as old as she was. She got around great; no walker, sound mind, no health problems. Not your normal 80-something senior citizen. I remember always thinking how I wanted to be like that when I was old and gray.

But the woman I saw 2 weeks ago was not the lively woman still making tons of Christmas cookies each year, humming while she baked and cleaned. She's the one who first showed me the Golden Girls. Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE the Golden Girls. I still remember sitting in "grandpa's" chair, eating Snyder's cheese pretzels, while grandma sat on the couch. We watched the Golden Girls together every time I stayed overnight there. Grandpa couldn't hang that long like the girls. So we stayed up "late" and did our girl thing. I thought it was so neat that she actually wanted to stay up with me to watch TV. That's something Kathie never would have done....even if I had begged her (but I knew better than to do that).

No, the woman I saw 2 weeks ago was frail and had trouble swallowing water. It was very hard for me to see her like that and I almost wish I hadn't. I wish I could hang on to only those happy memories. But now, I have that 1 not so great memory barging in whenever I think happy grandma thoughts. I'm sure it made her feel better to see me before she took her final nap, though, so that makes it all worth it.

I miss you grandma. I hope you find true happiness where you are now. You will always be my Golden Girl.