She'd been in and out of the hospital a good bit over the last few years, and we honestly thought we were losing her several of those times. I wasn't quite sure what to think when she first went in this time, but I made a point to try to get by there as much as possible to see her.
We also tried to take Connor several times. Even though he had only know her a few years, he loved her and she really loved him and having a great grandson!
On the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, we had tickets to the TN vs. Vanderbilt game in Nashville, so we decided to go visit Grandma on the way. We had just gotten our Christmas cards, so we delivered hers in person. She was special because she was the very first person to get to see it this year!
Connor also demonstrated some of his karate moves for her. She loved it! I also told her about getting to see Dolly in concert, going to Dollywood, and how we had finished grad school - and she told me she was proud of me.
We went to the game that night, which ultimately was an awful experience. TN lost, which was unexpected. That really wouldn't have mattered because we're definitely "it's just a game" kind of people, but we had some Vanderbilt fans in front of us who were super unsportsmanlike and quite frankly just inappropriate, especially with children all around. I actually went to tell a police officer about them, and he didn't seem to care - super frustrating. It didn't help that by this point we knew Grandma was not doing well, and I think we were all just a bit on edge in general.
I stopped by several times that week to see Grandma, and I got to talk with her alone a few times. I'm really glad I had that time to say some things I wanted to tell her since I knew it was probably the end. I think she was glad because she had things she wanted to tell me, too.
A few days later on December 2, I woke up to a text from my mom that we needed to get to the hospital. I got there before they started Grandma on "comfort care." I was able to tell her I was there and that I loved her, and I think she was still there enough to know. We sat there all day, but she was on morphine and resting... Nonetheless, I like to think she still knew we were there.
She passed late that night, a little before midnight. This is a picture collage I posted that night after she was gone.
She was 86 and definitely lived a long, full life. But that didn't mean it wasn't hard. She was my last grandparent, and she was the one I was always closest to. It hit me a lot harder than I really expected, and it's still hard even now as I write about it.
Over the next few days, I helped my mom with the funeral arrangements and went through a ton of pictures to help make a video slideshow to play at her visitation.
Here's a photo of mom and Grandma when mom was little.
I really like this picture I found of Grandma and Grandpa together.
This one came from my very first trip to Disney World. I only have a few memories of the trip since I was so little, but this character breakfast is one that stands out to me. I like that I go to do Disney with my parents and grandparents at one point.
This last picture is one that has always been a favorite. I'm not sure why we went to Olan Mills and had a picture of us, but I'm glad we did. I suppose it has something to do with being the first grandchild, and ultimately my sister and I were their only grandchildren. I mentioned to mom this photo has always been one of my favorites. It must have been one of Grandma's favorites, too, because mom found a copy of it in the wallet she was carrying in her purse up until she passed.
It's been really strange over the last 6 months knowing she's gone. Christmas was really different and pretty bittersweet being our first without her. It was strange knowing that just the year before she was at our house for Christmas dinner.
My parents cleaned out her house and sold it recently. That was really sad, too. My grandparents had lived there for 60 years, ever since mom was a baby. I spent almost every Saturday growing up out at their house, and I have a ton of memories there.
The memories will of course be there with me forever, and I have a few things that belonged to my grandparents in my home now to help remember them by. I know death is part of life, but it's definitely something that never gets easy. I'm thankful for all the time I had with my grandparents for sure.