My Grandma Anna

I had originally planned to post a recipe today, but it’s been a really tough week. I received a call from my dad on Sunday that my grandmother on my dad’s side of the family wasn’t feeling well (some congestion and a cough), and that my grandfather was concerned and needed support. My dad and my brother quickly made plans to drive up to New Hampshire and see them, but since my grandparents live in assisted living and we hadn’t received a call from the staff there, we weren’t overly concerned.

Over the next 24 hours, my grandmother’s condition rapidly deteriorated. It became apparent that she wasn’t sick – at 90-years-old, her body was simply shutting down. Her heart and kidneys had been slowly failing for a while, and several months ago, she and my grandfather (with the guidance of her doctor), decided to switch to hospice care. No more uncomfortable hospital beds, tests, and treatments. She wanted to be in her home.

Aaron, my mom, and I drove to New Hampshire on Tuesday, and the reality of the situation hit us in full force. She was just barely there. It took every ounce of her energy to open her eyes and speak, but she managed to tell us how happy she was to be surrounded by family and said she appreciated that we weren’t afraid to show her our love.

There were nurses in and out of her room every few minutes, making sure she was comfortable and answering our questions. It takes an incredible sort of person to do that type of work, and they managed to keep a calm, positive energy, despite the circumstances. The only time I saw one of them start to crumble was when my grandfather asked if they thought my grandmother would make it another month.

My grandmother managed to hang on until my uncle arrived from Florida that night, and she passed away the following day, peacefully, without pain, and surrounded by family. That’s really the best any of us can hope for.

She was one of those people who had the ability to make anyone feel at ease, and was such a warm and loving presence in my family and for those around her. She was unconditionally generous and beautiful, and she will be sorely missed.

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Life is short. Don't be afraid to show your love. And call your grandparents.

 

Comments

  1. says

    I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your Grandma Anna. It sounds like she was a beautiful human being. I’m glad you were able to see her before she passed and that you were able to communicate your love with her. I agree that it takes a special kind of person to work with Hospice. I feel such gratitude that there are people out there doing that difficult but needed work. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    • says

      Thanks, Cadry. I feel very lucky that I was able to be with her. I know it meant a lot to her (and to my grandfather) that so many of her loved ones were there.

  2. says

    Amanda, I’m so sorry to hear about your dear grandmother. It is really great that you did get to see her one more time, and I’m sure that it meant so much to her to have her family there.
    Most of my grandparents passed away when I was little, but my maternal grandmother (Gammy) was very active in my life until she passed away almost seven years ago. I still miss and think about her every single day.
    Big hugs to you!!

    • says

      Thanks, Gina. I get mad at myself about not reaching out more often too. My grandmother and I used to write to each other every few weeks when I was in college (there’s something so nice about getting an actual, hand-written letter), and then I stopped when I got a “real” job and got busy. I wish I had kept that up.

  3. says

    I’m really sorry for your loss and my blessings to you and your entire family through this time.
    I went through the same thing with my maternal grandmother 6 years ago. She died peacefully but not after some really tough years of sickness. The best way, seemingly, is to just slip away. I didn’t get a chance to know the rest of my grandparents (they all died unfortunately young and I was not born or was way too young to remember) so she was treasured. I’m feel blessed to have known and loved her and I am sure you feel the same way about your grandma.

    • says

      Thank you for sharing that. I can very much relate, since both of my biological grandfathers passed away before I was born, and my family’s relationship with my maternal grandmother is complicated. I know exactly what you mean when you say you treasured your maternal grandmother.

  4. says

    Oh sweetheart! Please accept my virtual hug! I’m glad you were able to be with your grandmother and family. She sounds like she was a light of love. My condolences to you and your family.

    • says

      Thanks, Katie. I’m doing okay – I’m obviously really sad, but I know that she lived a very full life, and she was at peace with everything. Now I’m just trying to be there to support my family.

  5. Laura S says

    Thanks for sharing your story, I’m sure that wasn’t easy to write. It’s so difficult losing a grandparent. They have been through a lot and are therefore very wise in their many years here on earth. We have so much to learn from them. It’s great that she made it to 90 though and the best way to honor her life is to cherish all the good times and special memories you shared!

    My deepest condolences. Thoughts and prayers are with you, Amanda!

    “Mama always said, dying was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t.”

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