She let go early this morning after what, I'm sure, was a very long night. Slipped away while most of her family was out of the room. After having eleven children and raising ten to adulthood, after loving 18 grandchildren and six great grandchildren, and giving her everything to those around her whom she cherished she left us on her own terms. Peace at last.
I wonder if she found the outstretched hand of my mother - strong again now that she's free of cancer - and grasped it firmly in both of hers, happy to see the ones she had lost. I wonder if she immediately found my Papa, who was waiting for her for only 8 months, and he gave her a smile and said "Jesus Christ, old lady, it sure took you long enough to get here. Were you shacking up with some other guy or something?". If she found my real grandfather, my mother's dad who died when they were so young, and they're now catching up on old times. If she's with my young uncle who died so tragically and the young baby she lost so many years ago to pneumonia.
So much loss in our lives over the past few years, but this one is particularly tough. Without her to anchor us we will be left to drift apart.
And so, another wake, another funeral, one more chance to get the family together and make promises. We'll get together soon. This fall, Christmas, next summer. Most won't happen. Not without Gram to bring us together at her large kitchen table.
Not without our Gram.
But I thank you for all the thoughts. A surprise to open my email and see them all. Thank you.
Monday, July 30, 2007