Goodbye to my Grandmother.

She died today.

I am so very glad I went to visit her on Saturday. Alzheimer’s had waged its long, slow obliteration through her brain, leaving nothing but the basic components: breathing, and a desire to Keep The Conversation Going. Grandma was a Lady, and that’s what one does.

There was almost nothing left of the active, vibrant, mischievous woman I grew up with. She was dull-eyed and had a wracking cough, but didn’t have the strength to cough out beyond the top third of her lungs. She drifted in and out of sleep as I chatted with Janet, a woman who is kind of an honorary aunt to me. When my grandmother’s eyes were open, she would mumble a little, say a few intelligible words. Janet left and I stayed a while, holding my grandmother’s hand and thinking nothing in particular. I held the straw while she drank some Boost. She was thirsty. Afterwards, I mopped a little from around her mouth.

When it was time for me to go, I smoothed her hair and kissed her paper-thin, wrinkled temple. “I love you, Grandma.”

Just for a moment, it seemed like colour flooded back to her faded blue eyes, and I saw the love and happiness of a grandmother looking at her granddaughter, looking back at me. For one second, less than one second, she came back to see me.

And now she’s gone.

12 Comments to “Goodbye to my Grandmother.”

  1. By rachel, July 29, 2008 @ 8:37 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Liz.

    My grandfather had Alzheimer’s, and it is an awful way to go. It was a relief when he died, in some ways, because he had been effectively gone for many years, by that point. But even toward the end, the one thing he had left was his sense of humour. He couldn’t talk, but he could still joke, with gestures and surprises. He tried to convince me to sit down in a bushel basket, once, and even though it was transparent to me what he was trying to do, I complied, sat, and pretended to be astonished when I fell in. He howled with laughter. He would offer me a fork to eat tomato soup with, I would pretend not to understand why it wasn’t working, and he would howl with laughter. He was a joker to the very end.

  2. By Stephanie, July 29, 2008 @ 11:05 am

    I’m sorry. It’s very, very sad to lose a grandparent. You start to feel strange in places you didn’t know you had.

  3. By Beth, July 29, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

    My heart goes out to you. Loss of a loved one is never easy.

  4. By cheesefairy, July 29, 2008 @ 7:16 pm

    I’m sorry Liz. Glad you had that moment with her.

  5. By Arwen, July 29, 2008 @ 9:14 pm

    Oh, Liz. I’m so sorry. I also am glad you had the moment.

  6. By Fran, July 29, 2008 @ 9:33 pm

    Peace be with her. I too am glad you had that grandmother-granddaughter time.

  7. By Liz, July 29, 2008 @ 9:49 pm

    Thank you, all. She really was a wonderful woman.

  8. By sarah, July 30, 2008 @ 5:52 am

    I’m sorry for your loss, and glad for your love.

  9. By Erin, July 30, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

    I’m so sorry Liz. Bless you both – how lucky she was to have you with her in her final hours.

  10. By elswhere, July 30, 2008 @ 7:37 pm

    It sounds like you had a wonderful relationship with your grandmother. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  11. By Deb, July 31, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss, and I look forward to YOUR eulogy.

  12. By Lindsay Loo Brush, August 4, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

    I am so sorry Liz, I wish I was one of those people who knew the right thing to say…thinking of you x

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