Saturday night was one of the most precious nights of my life.
My brother and I drove all night on Friday night and arrived at our great-grandma’s house at 5am. We slept for about an hour and got ready to start our day. It was so great to see her. For being expected to go at any time, she sure looked good, lying in her chair, talking, laughing and interacting with everyone. She was completely aware of everything going on around her, and was able to answer all the questions the hospice people were asking her.
She was able to eat and drink. And boy was she living it up with the eats and drinks. I guess when you’re down to literally only days to go in this life, you can eat whatever you want without abandon. Coffee(thank you Jitter Bean Coffee Co), cookies, cake and ice cream. BLISS!! Complete bliss. I think she even had a bit of beer on Saturday night with her Corned Beef and Cabbage. It was St. Patty’s Day after all, so why not? For the love of God, she’s 91. She raised 3 daughters, 2 sons, 16 grandkids, 5o-something great-grandkids and somewhere around 30 great-great grandkids. (We may not know how to do a lot of things, but apparently, we know how to reproduce and we do it well!) If the lady would like a beer, get her a beer!
The house was full all day long with family and friends coming by to visit and pay their last respects. It was almost a celebration. We were celebrating the life of this amazing woman. And not without tears every now and again. Usually the tears came at unexpected moments. Everyone was able to take a turn if needed to speak quietly with her one on one, and we were all able to share memories and funny stories together. It was loud, chaotic, sweet, sad and I dare say, even fun!
Then came Saturday night. Myself, my brother, my 2 daughters, my grandma, my aunt and I all decided to spend the night with gramma. A pajama party of sorts.
A pajama party with morphine and breathing treatment breaks, but a pajama party none the less.
Our family really knows how to get down and live it up!
I had been telling my mom and Auntie Jeanne that I would love the opportunity to share some love and memories with gramma and so would the girls, but didn’t want to do so in front of everyone. This seemed to be the perfect opportunity.
It happened so naturally. We were all sitting around and talking and I honestly don’t remember how the conversation started, but before long we were all taking turns sitting next to her in what we dubbed as the “share chair,” in reality it was her walker. The Cadillac of walker’s for sure. I would buy one of those bad boys just to sit on. So comfy with great back support, but I digress…
What started as a normal conversation, turned into one of the most precious moments of my life and my favorite memory of Gramma Varney.
I cried and laughed and did both of those at the same time every now and again as I was able to tell her everything she has meant to me in my 34 years, some of my favorite memories, some of the funniest memories, the greatest lessons she has taught me and her characteristics that I admire the most.
All 6 of us took several turns in the chair.
There are few words that can describe those moments.
Precious. Beautiful. Sweet. Bittersweet. But mostly precious.
Usually those words are reserved for a funeral or a memorial service, but what an incredible blessing to be able to share them WITH her and have her go knowing exactly how she impacted my life and how much she is loved. I will never have regrets based on things that went unsaid.
It was perfect closure. I am so at peace letting her go. I will be sad of course because I will miss her and the selfish part of me wants her forever, but as she held my hand and told me she loved me she said,
“Now honey, you’re only feeling sorry for yourself. I’m fine and you will be just fine without me. Don’t be sad, just keep being good so we will see each other on the other side and we’ll both be young and beautiful! Now, I love you, but I don’t want to see you again. It’s time.”
My last memory of her, sitting in her chair in her pretty pink nightgown blowing kisses to me and smiling.
Our last words to each other, “I love you.”
No regrets.