At 6AM February 15, 2013, my grandmother went to a better place.
In her late 80's, she was diagnosed with bone cancer...something no one should ever have to go through.
Late summer/early fall of last year, she was diagnosed with a type of skin cancer.
For someone who did not like doctors or 'modern' medicine, she did agree to surgery to remove the tumor, as well as, a few weeks of radiation, just as a precautioin.
I'm not sure if it was a paranoia or just her choosing, but she didn't like the idea of meds being pumped into her. At least, from my perspective.
I never remember her being really sick or going to the doctor ever, so this was definitely a big step for her and I was proud of her for trying.
If you know someone who's ever been through that, it is not a fun thing. It burns your skin and can be very uncomfortable and leaves the area extremely sensitive.
It's even less fun being the person who has to sit with her and take her to appointments...my mom.
My sister came home that Friday night and Saturday we were at her apartment, cleaning.
WOW...I won't go into detail, but this woman had a lot of stuff...
With over 27 bags of trash, we ended up donating tons of clothes, many still with tags! lol Guess shopping runs in the family...
All of her furniture, decorations, household items, all went to charity and even the food was donated to EACM; what was still edible at least.
It was a bittersweet time. We enjoyed going through all of her stuff and it was a nice bonding experience for my mom, sister and I, but it was really sad.
I wasn't close to my grandmother. At all. Doesn't mean I didn't still see her as my family or have some type of emotion and to her, it just means I didn't stay in touch with her. I didn't bond with her and I never felt that connection with her...
It's sad, I know. It's not from lack of trying, but growing up, I never was able to feel like she was a 'true' grandma and that was OK for me. I learned to accept it and life went on.
When my grandfather died, it was weird to have her so close.
She had always been hours away. A days drive. A flight for convenience, and we saw her maybe twice a year.
But for the last 9 years, she's been just a few miles down the road.
And to be honest, I only saw her a few more times than I did before my parents moved her here...
Family can be complicated and in this case, she was the complicated family.
I don't say that to make her sound like a horrible woman, I say that because she was the family member that always made it difficult to relate to. Difficult to talk to. Difficult to connect with.
I, personally, never felt that closeness with her and sometimes that's just how it is.
I connected more with my grandfather. Some people don't even talk to their grandparents, so for me, the holiday's, birthday's, and random dinners or shopping sprees, worked for us.
She was 100% her own person and she did what she wanted, when she wanted, how she wanted, and because she wanted....
For a situation that has been a roller-coaster all of my life, it's been that way longer for my mom.
One thing she had in common with her mom is strength and I hope she reads that the right way.
My grandmother was a fighter. She didn't let things get her down and she kept trying. She was strong willed and didn't take no for an answer.
My mom has taken care of my grandmother for the last 9 years, possibly longer emotionally, but for weeks on end she would take her grocery shopping and just fun shopping. To doctors appointments and hair appointments. To lunches and movies.
And while my mom was a lot closer to her dad, she continued to put her mom first when she could.
She rearranged her schedule to take her places and make sure she was doing ok, from balancing her checkbook to driving her to visit my sister and her great grandson.
Because I didn't see my grandma often enough for her to be a habit in my mind, it doesn't take away from her being gone.
Because I wasn't as close to my grandma as much as I would have liked, doesn't take away from the emotion that I felt.
I don't want this to come out wrong, but I was actually a bit surprised by how much it affected me.
It was tough. I didn't know what to do or how to feel.
I had a lot of different things going on in my head and in the end...she was still a human being.
She was still family....she was my grandma.
And she's gone.
I think I felt more emotion for my mom because it was her last living parent.
I have no idea how I would feel if my parents were gone.
It's gotta be an eery feeling...maybe even a sense of being completely alone or abandoned.
Not to make it so dramatic, but could you imagine what that would feel like without every experiencing it?
Cancer has taken some incredible people from this earth and that saddens me.
For my grandma, she lived her life just how she wanted, right till the end.
She was at home, in her apartment, living how she wanted...and for one week, she was in the hospital.
In pain, yes...but once the doctors got that under control, she was peaceful...asleep...ready to go.
Death has always been weird for me. It's hard to fathom and it's a hard subject to figure out emotionally and to even talk about to an extent that someone really understands.
Everyone reacts to death differently and of course it depends on the person who has died, but death is death.
It saddens me every time someone loses their life.
It's a life. It's a human life. We are a miracle and anytime a life is taken, it's hard...
Life does move on though...and the best I can do is trust she's in a better place and be there for my mom.
Thank you to those who have prayed for my family and given good thoughts our way.
We appreciate it and feel very blessed to have a huge support system.
While there was no formal service here, we will take the time to go back to Wisconsin and bury her next to my grandfather...