They’re both gone.
My dad’s mom had a heart attack on Mother’s Day, and died that afternoon.
My mom’s mom had a stroke a few weeks later. She passed away just before Father’s Day.
One grandmother I didn’t know well; the other, raised me when I was little. On my refrigerator, there’s a picture of my mom’s mom and me on the edge of her bed, her with a smile, and me sucking my thumb. Why, I’ll never know.
There are scenes from that week at home after my granny died. The wheelchair ramp that was over the stairs, now in pieces in the yard. The steady stream of family and friends visiting, with food in hand. The visitation at the funeral home, with my grandmother lying there in her casket, finally at rest from a life well-lived. The prayer circle in her yard the morning of her funeral. The heat of that day. Seeing family I hadn’t see in ages. The crying. The moment in the church when they closed the casket, the last time we would see her face.
The deaths made me look at some things differently. My job, my life, my friends, my family. What’s important now? What’s not? It re-enforced the notion that nothing is permanent. Everything changes and evolves. We can’t fight that, as frightening as it is. If we fight change, we suffer. We have to roll with the tides of change…
My mom’s mom was quiet, determined, independent and caring. Those are things that she gave me. And I hope that I can keep cultivating them.