It’s coming up on a year, in a short little while, of my Grammy’s passing. July 13th is the day. I don’t usually remember dates very well and it is even more true that I often forget the sequence of happenings in the years and days and moments that have come to pass.
But for this… there were markers.
First was the trending of #RedBalloonsforRyan. A beautiful family that lost their fiery, red-headed son. I don’t feel it’s my place to share the details of their story, you’ll have to find out for yourself. But the events of their lives played such a huge role in mine. I did not know this woman. I still, have never spoken to or with her, but I feel connected to her. My heart-string, tied to hers. I do my best to hold space for her loss, and the transformation of her relationship with her son in their new circumstances. But mostly I just cry. For some reason their story comes up a lot for me. I find myself mentioning them to others and so many times, their story has shaken me more than my own.
I had/have/sometimes have, a fear around dying. Or more so, the experience of loss. The experience of life with the physical absence of another. It makes me nauseous. I know that this too, IS ACTUALLY a part of life. But still. The truth is… the feeling is so horrible because it is perhaps the most honest emotional experience one can have on the dark and gloomy side of the spectrum. It is still Love. But it is sadness and love. I mean sure, we thoroughly enjoy the intense heat of pure, true, turned-on love, but who wouldn’t. How often do we ever allow ourselves to bottom out and then rise again in the name of Love?
The next mile marker on our way to Grammy’s passing happened six weeks before she crossed over.
Grammy gave me her car.
Something that put a sting in the stomach of some of my family members.
I came over for a visit a week or two after she gifted the car to me. This was one of the last times we spoke. I was sitting on the small couch next to her recliner and she was there, snuggled in her robe, hooked up to the oxygen tank. I said, “thank you so much for giving me your car. I promise Sawyer and I will come up more to visit.” She replied, “that’s not why I gave it to you. I know what’s it’s like to be coup’d up at home with a toddler.”
I cried. It felt so good to be understood. The little Kia was a slice of heaven that landed in my life at the perfect time.
It wasn’t long after that Grammy had a fall. And then soon after that she rapidly declined.
I remember glimpses of my Mother in her dark bedroom feeling so sad and so weighed down by the responsibility of caring for her and the fear of losing her.
I remember the house filled with coming and going family members saying their goodbyes.
In my very last moments with Grammy, I sat beside her and sang Walking After Midnight. Shortly after I finished she opened her eyes. I asked if she heard me singing to her, she shook her head… I told her I was singing Patsy Cline and she said, “Patsy” and drifted off, back to sleep. Those were our last words. A couple days after that she peacefully crossed over.