My dad called me on the morning of October 23 to tell me the news I have been hoping I wouldn't hear for a much longer time. My grandmother had passed away in the middle of the night. The next 24 hours were a blur of work, tears, travel, and family. I feel so fortunate that all 4 of us were able to jump on planes almost immediately. It really solidified how many wonderful people I have in my life that were willing to step up, take over, and let me completely disconnect for a few days to spend time with my sweet, sweet family.
We flew the next day, and that Thursday night, we tried to forget why we were all together. The 5 oldest grandchildren, her 2 daughters and their husbands had a smashing time together. Laughing, telling stories, and just enjoying each other's company. At one point I teared up, turned to my oldest cousin and said "she'd be so mad, but she's so happy." "Not until tomorrow Kathryn. Tonight is for celebrating. But you're right." And then we got rip-roaring drunk and neglected to eat dinner, but it was so, so, SO worth it. Family time is the best, even under the worst circumstances.
The next few days were hard. I sat in a corner for the first 45 minutes of her wake. My stubborn cuss of a grandmother didn't give any of us the chance to say goodbye. But in that time, I realized maybe that's okay. I've realized that she's actually always there. She's laughing as I send ridiculous text messages to cute boys. She was watching and shaking her head while my cousins and I drank ourselves quite stupid. She's holding grandpa's hand and walking on the beach, picking up shells and having picnics. She's writing love letters and thank you cards and cooking in her kitchen high in the sky. I am sure she is passing along a disapproving stare, thinking about how proud she is of her 9 successful, driven, determined, dedicated grandchildren, and missing her pup.
I didn't realize I would miss her this much, miss her voice and the way she cut off all of our conversations and how she'd spend hours doing arts and crafts with her granddaughters and her lemon cookies and climbing the sand dunes and every other memory. But what makes me tear up the most, what has brought me to tears late at night under my covers is how happy I think she is. Her heart hurt so terribly before she died, and I just know that she's happy again. Her suffering ended, and I really and truly think that when she walked through the pearly gates of wherever she went, my grandpa and my uncle were there to greet her, and I can just imagine that instead of saying hello, she spit out some sassy comment and hasn't stopped.
I miss you, Gram. Keep watch over all of us, and let me know you're there every now and then. See you when I see you.