The memories I have that surround my grandparents on my Dad's side seem so empty now that they have both passed away. It's such an unexplainable feeling...a sense of loss and loneliness, almost breathtaking in a way. Like I've been sucker punched. John assured me that their death doesn't make my memories any less valid, but to me, I'm all alone with them now. No one else but Gram remembers the time I sat at her kitchen table while she put her makeup on during June of the late 90's. It was just the two of us there. Now it's just me.
Walking into Gram and Grampa's house with no one to greet me was hard. It was quiet. No country music on the radio. No TV noise. Not even the cuckoo clock was ticking. It was just silent. And I strongly disliked the feeling...I was just getting used to not seeing my Grandpa when I walked into the living room, but where was my Grandma and her smile? Her twinkling eyes and silly giggle as she said, "Oh honey! What a surprise!"?
It's been just over a week since Gram Elaine's death. Her funeral was nice, but slightly stressful. I would've liked a little more time to just take it all in, but I felt rushed...perhaps that's why I felt no emotion. Or perhaps it was because Gram didn't look like the Gram I grew up with. (Dad said she aged about ten years in the last afternoon she spent here in this life.)
And yet, although I hurt, Gram's death was graceful. How she died was dignified. (Renal failure.) While she had stage four colon cancer that would have eventually killed her in the most painful way, complete with too much suffering for her to bear, God decided to take her in a peaceful way, by falling asleep and never waking up to the pain of this world. She was surrounded by love...with her two boys at her side. Her daughter-in-law there. With her grandchildren there in spirit.
We had time to say goodbye to her, and she had time to say goodbye to us. I said my goodbye's, telling her that she's lucky to go see Grandpa Harv. She sat back into her bed, looked off and smiled the most peaceful smile in the world, and said, "Oh I can't WAIT to see him again." It was powerful...just as powerful as the vision I saw after my mom called me telling me Gram had died:
It was Gram, waking up, and Grandpa Harv waiting there for her, smiling. She let her eyes rest on him and got all teary, smiled as got out of her hospital bed with ease, and walked over to him with her arms outstretched, wrists flopped outward, and as they embraced she sighed, "Oh Harv!"
It's that thought that gives me comfort, and makes her death beyond beautiful.