I will tell everyone now that this post is going to be a combination of sad and happy smiles for me. So now you're forewarned don't blame me for it. But I feel the need to write it out, to think about life, and to say goodbye.
My grandmother whom I am proudly named after turned 104 years old in May of this year. I cannot even imagine what her life has been like. She was born in 1904. When I think of all she has lived through it completely astounds me. She has seen electricity, indoor plumbing, television, radios, telephones, and airplanes. She has lived through the depression, countless wars, more presidents than I can even count and much much more. She is a true survivor in life.
My grandmother has never lived in a nursing home, until recently never spent much time in a hospital. Her children have made sure she has always lived in her own home with one or more of the kids living with her since she divorced my grandfather many years ago. She raised 8 children and has outlived four of them, and has so many grandchildren and great grandchildren I do not even know how many. I remember one time her telling me how she never ever wanted to be alive to see one of her own children pass away. That even with all she has lived through nothing was worse than that.
Until the last few years my grandmother had excellent vision and hearing as well as a sharp, intact mind. Her mind is still very sharp now, I know this since she scolded me for crying yesterday.
Yesterday I received THE CALL the one everyone always dreads that she was in the hospital and has only been given a few hours to maybe a few days to be with us now. Her body is just worn out to say it nicely. Trucker and I left for the hospital and for saying my goodbyes.
When I walked into the room I took her hand in mine and told her who I was. I asked her to squeeze my hand if she understood and knew. She squeezed so hard and tried to smile. I tried my best not to cry, but could not. I told her I loved her with all my heart and her little feeble hand squeezed mine again tightly. The dam inside of me broke. I stayed for several hours taking turns holding her hand, rubbing her head, whispering how much I love her.
I told her how I remembered how she taught me to crochet and how thankful to have learned this skill from her meant to me. This was no easy task for her to teach me as she is right handed and I am left handed. Needless to say grandmother never gave up but only managed to teach me the "granny square". I told her how her cookies always tasted better than mom's even if store bought. Nothing beat getting cookies from your grandmother. I told her how her "poor man's nanner pudding" is something I still fix my own grand kids today. When we were young and little and mother took us to visit her if she had nothing sweet in the house to eat she would make us her "poor man's nanner pudding". It was simply molasses and butter mixed together and put on a hot biscuit. I can still see her standing at the kitchen counter mixing the two together. Her apron on and a smile on her face for her grand kids. I remember spending many nights at her house, sleeping in the full size bed next to her bed at night. Still here her reading bedtime stories to my sister and I as we fell asleep. At the same time seeing this old antique picture of her mother hanging up next to our bed and thinking how scary that woman looked to me as I tried to sleep.
My grandmother was known for miles around for her talents in crocheting. She made anything from doilies to table clothes to bedspreads. She could sew anything and made many of my pageant dresses over the years. Her house was filled to the brim with toilet paper/crochet dolls, toilet tissue cover boxes decorated and and many other items and crafts she made. I also remember her making my children two Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. They are 4ft. tall and all done by hand. I also helped her sell those Raggedy dolls to various people I worked with. When she found out I sold them for her for close to $200 a set she tried to get me to give everyone their money back. She felt as if she were stealing from them for the price I sold them for. She had only been charging about $35 a doll. She couldn't imagine anyone paying her that much for her talent. She made me stop selling them right then and there.
When it came time to leave the hospital I went over the her bedside once again. I sat down very close to her with my head laying on the bed railing. I took her hand in mine and told her again how much I love her and that it was time to rest and that I had to go home and take care of my family. I was crying very hard and looking into her eyes. I wondered then if she understood me and knew who I was. She looked so deeply into my eyes and saw and heard me crying. She shook my hand loose from hers. Then she reached out and placed her hand over mine and squeezed hard. She then said "I love you and STOP crying".
I cried and kissed her goodbye one last time.
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