my grandma died Thursday evening.
I know you can read all kinds of things into the death experience, but here's what happened:
Thursday morning, the nurse from the home called and said gram probably didn't have much longer to live. It's a long story about how we finally all got there, but as we stood around her bed, I whispered to my sister, "I don't think I can do this again." We had all been there when mom took her last breath, and again when dad died; it's where we had to be, and wanted to be, but those traumatic last moments haunt me still.
We were with her all day long, singing, praying, and watching her struggle for each breath. Father Todd was actually there before I got there, and we were joined for much of the afternoon by our dear friend, Marsha, the hospice chaplain who we met when mom was sick. Marsha encouraged us to talk about all the good times we had together, and we ended up laughing a lot, too. Sarah brought the boys down, and they played soccer in the hallway. The kitchen staff brought down a cart full of drinks and snacks, and someone from the home was always popping in to check on her and us.
I went home for about an hour and a half for a bite, some Excedrin and a short nap, then headed back in for the evening. I was with gram by myself for about an hour, as my aunt and uncle went back to the motel for the night. Sharon came in, and we talked until the nurses came in to give gram a bed bath around 9:00. We went down to the dining room to wait, then Bonnie, the night nurse came and said, "Well, girls, you can be happy. She is gone." (It was a strange choice of words, and although I know she was right, I sure didn't feel very happy.)
But I hadn't had to watch her die.
Had she heard me that morning? Probably not, but we had talked in the past about how difficult it was to watch someone die, and I'd like to think of this as a final little gift.