Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Last Trip to "Grandma's"

I can't believe this is the first time I've actually been on blogger in like 6 days. I've either been that busy or that lazy. I think it's a little of both.

Part of it has been because I'm not sure what to say about my grandma. We've known it was coming for such a long time. Before it happened I thought I was ready. But there was so much hype about it - one day she's got a few days "max", the next day the nurse is saying it could be weeks - that I just got tired of the non-updates. Predicting the future is not exactly a science. Well, life caught up to her at about 3:00 on Thursday, January 29th, 2009. I got the call from my mom while at work. I got a hug from my boss then went to the bathroom. It was the strangest feeling, sobbing on the toilet in a public restroom. I was so afraid someone would walk in, but at the same time hated being alone. I pulled myself together and got to the elevator before a good friend, Steve, stopped me. When I told him, he stopped what he was doing and got into the elevator with me and let me sob on his chest down 10 floors. Its the little things that people do that really make me realize what great friends I have, even co-workers.

Fast forward to Saturday. My mom, Barry, and I got on a plane to Midway (Chicago) at the ass-crack and landed about 10:00am. We took a detour to Chinatown (yum!) before going to Union Station to take the train to Lake Villa. I've mentioned before that the biggest fear I had was seeing my Grandpa. When we got there he was in their room. I was able to hug him for a long time. I tried to be strong but I just cried in his arms, with our family around us. I was so afraid that my favorite place in the whole world would have somehow lost it's magic without Grandma. Yes, there was something missing, but luckily not all the magic was lost. I realized that although Grandma leaving us was unbelievably hard, her life and body wasn't what defined the love in our family. The fact that EVERYONE was together, for the first time since all 8 cousins were children, kept it all real. Kept the magic of that house alive. We spent 5 days crying, laughing, looking at pictures, crying and laughing some more.

At the viewings and at the funeral, Barry told me I shouldn't have to "be strong" for anyone, but grieve for myself. I think that even though I've lost both my mom's parents, plus 2 of Barry's uncles, that this is the first time I've experienced true grief. I loved all of them, but my Grandma Jo like no one you'll ever meet. If you were lucky enough to know her, you are a better person because of it. Grief is just the weirdest feeling. One moment it seems as though I'll never feel joy again, and then I quickly recover and can laugh and talk about where we're going to get dinner. At the actual funeral Wednesday morning I was a flippin' wreck, but at the cemetery I was fine. I know it'll get easier...

I think my Grandpa will be OK. He will probably even come down to visit in a few weeks. :)

As for me, I'll keep her in my heart (and on my foot).

I love you, Grandma.


Angelle said...

Lots of love to you. Sounds like you got just what you needed there in Chicago. The magic is still at my grandparents' house and they have been gone since I was in college. You have the memories, they live with you.

Erin and Rick said...

Grief IS a strange thing. I know this from experience! There is no right path from one person to the next. Grieving must be felt, and in one's own way. Barry is right- do and feel what Mandi needs to do and feel. Some people may not understand what you do and why, but such is life. It's strange- months will have gone by without a bad day, and the seemingly smallest thing will bring you to your knees. But know that there's no time frame to fully processing that kind of pain.