My grandmother, my last living grandparent, turned 88 the week after I left for Paraguay. I knew when I went to visit her in the days before I left home I would likely never see her again, as she has been battling a range of health issues for a while now. I lingered during that visit as long as I could, trying to record in my head the sound of her voice as she asked with hope that I write to her, trying to burn into my brain every detail of that visit, trying to choke back the tears that fought desperately to spill down my cheeks before I could catch them, knowing this was likely the last time with her … for anything. I did not want her to know that I knew. I wanted to pretend everything would be fine. She has bounced back and surprised us before. But this time is different. Even her doctors have said it’s time. She is in hospice. It is simply a matter of time.
She knows. She’s ready. She’s been ready. It’s the rest of us that struggle to come to grips with the sunset of her life, to miss the love that she spreads so naturally, to feel the warmth of her home and the delighted twinkle in her eye when you enter the room. None of us will ever question her love for us.
Though I am 5000 miles away and unable to be with her, I’ve been fortunate to have had her all these years, to have the chance to say goodbye, to tell her I love her, to wish her a final Happy Birthday, and hold her hand one last time.
Please keep my family in your thoughts.
(PS- I will be traveling to other parts of the country this week for training and unable to post again until next weekend.)