Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Life and Death

My grandmother, mother, Maetia and her cousin Janna visiting

On Tuesday night, March 17, I lost a grandmother, my mum's mother. On Wednesday, March 18, I celebrated my grandfather's 90th birthday, my dad's father. It was a strange week to say the least. My grandmother had been suffering from dementia (noticeably) for the past few years but lived in her own home and mostly on her own until she was 91 years old. She then spent 7 years in a nursing home where she quickly lost a sense of who she was and who we were. For the first few years, she visited with people, went on the bus tours and took part in the activities. She was very caring and always acted as if she was one of the nurses taking care of all the 'patients'. Later on she started to forget us and would tell us stories of her babies, her dog, and her life. It was all mixed up in time but still a way to connect with her. Both sets of my grandparents lived through war, the great depression, immigration, great technological advances and have had to adjust to a lot of change. My Opa's health is failing but I still managed to get a smile out of him and a few jokes on his birthday. Both of them love(d) children and bringing my own children to visit with them is not only special for me, but I can tell it is the highlight of their week. I have a hard time thinking of my parents at that stage and lately Michael and I have been discussing our own immortality and what we would want or not want at that stage. It has been really hard to watch them age. Both of my parents are some of the youngest siblings in their families so I have only ever had elderly grandparents. Even so, I remember my grandmother's love for her garden, and helping her weed it. I remember staying with her for the summer when my grandpa moved into a nursing home and playing Chinese checkers, crazy eights, then the news every night before heading up to bed. I will always remember her extra slippers at the door warming by the fire, the little table we sat at while helping her do the crossword puzzles, her smile, her eyes twinkling when she laughed and the way she held up her hands in a greeting. Knowing that I will see her and others who have gone before me, in heaven does give me comfort but doesn't take away the pain of knowing there is no way to ever physically see, touch, or hear them again. A death like this makes me realize how important the relationships are that I have and how much we have to keep our kids in touch with their grandparents.


saravan said...

Thanks for sharing, Laura. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

Chloe said...

God seems to have a theme running for me lately and this post only adds to it - I am desiring to work on being better at putting relationships before tasks, whether with my children, my husband, or a neighbor I barely know. It is so easy to try to get things checked off the list but who cares when the laundry gets done when we have so little time here on earth to love and be loved. Thanks.