blessednbabbling











{December 19, 2011}   ‘Til Death Did They Part

58 years. That is how long my great-grandparents had been married before Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. That is the day my great-grandmother was taken from me. She was 86. She’d had Alzheimer’s since 1999 and on March 8, 2007 (my birthday) we put her in a nursing home.

I was told that she’d died early Friday morning, a little after midnight. When I found out I thought about what it was that I was doing while she was taking her last few breaths. I was on Twitter talking about how I was going into my last day volunteering at the middle school.

When my mother told me I remember shaking my head and grabbing her as the tears fell. I believe the image of that moment will forever be somewhere in my head.  We went to eat shortly afterwards with my grandmother and great-grandfather. Well, they ate, I wasn’t hungry. Halfway through the meal my great-grandfather tells me that he has nothing else to live for. She was his world. He wears an old, dirt red colored picture of them when they were younger on a chain around his neck. He took it off and gave it to me telling me to keep it so that I could always keep them together. He told me to fix it up if I had to which meant get a new chain for it if need be. I promised him that I would.

Today, Sunday, we went to view Grandma Grace’s body. She looked good.

It was heartbreaking to be up there looking at my lifeless great-grandmother. But what was worse was watching her husband grab the edge of the casket as if he was unsure if it would’ve been okay to touch her. He and I both had begun to cry even before we’d walked into the room to see her body.

I wanted to scream upon seeing her but nothing came out. I only spoke a word of thanks to the lady who handed me some tissue. At the time I couldn’t put what I was feeling into words so I just stayed quiet.

I wanted to yell at her to wake up so we could go home. I wanted to kiss her with the hope that she’d open her eyes, start complaining and calling me Kissing Kate (the name she gave me b/c I was always kissing her).

I also wanted to shake the life back into her or at least breathe it into her nostrils which were wide open. But, my name is Ashley, not God.

Even in the state of having a lifeless body you could tell she was a well endowed woman. She is where I get my monsters from, as they’ve been called.  Her nails were long like mine yet unlike her daughter and granddaughter’s, so maybe I get that from her too. They had her hair nicely curled and her make-up was good although I did want to take some tissue and wipe just a bit of the lipstick off her lips. I studied her body as though I was being given a test on it later. I noticed a mark on the side of her face that I’d never seen before.

I’ve been close enough to touch the body of a dead loved one before but I’ve never wanted to, until today.  I touched her hands and the flower she was holding. It was real which kind of shocked me. I even touched her hair which is grayish-white.

I’ve experienced death before but there have only been 2 people close enough to me in lineage to where my opinion on the funeral arrangements would matter. The first was my daddy but of course I was way too young to understand the entire process of planning a funeral. This is the first time I’ve been asked my opinion on what the funeral program will look like, what they’ll be buried in, which pictures will be put in the program. I’ve even been asked to read a passage or two from the Bible.

This is also the first time I’ve heard the classic phrases people use when someone has died and they not be enough comfort for me. They normally work but not this time. I mean I appreciate them of course but this time they just weren’t enough.

I wanted her suffering to stop more than anything in the world. But I wanted it to stop while she was alive, here on Earth with me and the rest of us. That’s selfish I know and I have to keep telling myself that God is the only one who could give her the peace I badly wanted her to have. I also have to keep telling myself that Heaven is the only place she’s able to get it. Deep down I know these things but it doesn’t mean I don’t want her back.

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