**This is a post I wrote back in August, sharing some thoughts of my sweet Grandma Bryan. Early this morning, she passed away very peacefully. I thought this was a fitting time to re-post this, as a tribute to her. I'm happy that she is living large in Heaven and not confined to her bed, and I'm so sad that our time here together is over. Lots of mixed emotions today...lots of sweet memories:
This weekend I was able to see my sweet Grandma. For quite some time, every time I see her I am acutely aware that I could be seeing her for the last time. Now I find myself hoping, and I say this with more love for her than my heart can hold, that this last time was my last visit. I am hoping...for her sake, primarily...that her time to go Home is soon. She has deteriorated so much since this picture was taken, on her 90th birthday, in March. She struggles to put together a full sentence. She struggles to find words to express what she feels. She struggles to move from one room to another. She struggles to be awake when it's day and asleep when it's night. Her life is now, in many ways, a struggle.
It hasn't always been this way for her. All of my life, she has been a strong woman. She has survived a lot. She has buried 2 of her 4 children, that alone an unimaginable pain. She raised her 4 children on a farm, growing most all of the food her family ate. They also raised their own beef and chickens. She grew beautiful roses. On the hot summer days, she would "spray down the patio" to keep the house cool. She once painted her barn by herself because she grew impatient waiting for my Grandpa to get to it. And she bragged for years about how great it looked. She made fabulous Christmas candies and cookies. I remember clearly the anticipation of getting to her house to see the spread of treats on her kitchen counter. She drank one "swig" of Pepsi every night before bed. Every night. She drank coffee out of a pretty cup and saucer every morning. The clinking of her cup setting down on her saucer was what woke up all the grandkids sprawled out in sleeping bags on her living room floor. She loved when one of us would crawl our sleepy-eyed selves into her lap. She loved her perfume heavy. One hug from Grandma and you smelled like her for the rest of the day. She loved a clean car. Always swore it truly drove better clean. She told me one summer that bright red toenails made your legs look more tan. She had very strong political views. She had a very, very strong disgust for one particular politician. One particular blessing of her dementia was not realizing that particular politician actually ran for president this year. None of us could have endured the ranting that would have produced. She believed all the headlines on tabloid magazines in the grocery store were pretty near factual, especially in these later years. She wouldn't buy that "trash" but loved to read them in line at the grocery store. She loved to sit out on the patio, drinking iced tea, and visit. Never, ever a lull in conversation. She has volumes of photo albums full of so many family memories. One of her favorite expressions of frustration was "horse feathers." It still makes me grin to hear her say that in my mind. I always knew I was loved by her. She has filled a huge void in my life since my mom died. Hearing her tell me that my mom would have been proud of me and would have loved my children brings unspeakable joy and peace to my heart. She has been such a joy to me, and I've been so blessed to have her be my Grandma.
It hurts my heart to see her like this now. I'm positive she doesn't remember we were even there. The goodbye was slow this time. I wanted to just keep sitting there and holding her very frail hand. And yet another part of me wanted to get out of there as quickly as I could. I didn't want to allow any pictures to cement themselves in my mind, because this is not how I want to remember her. But I chose to make the goodbye slow, savor her touch knowing it could be the last. She told me again, as she has for a long time now, that she doesn't have much time left. I asked her if she was afraid. She said an emphatic no, although I'm sure there is some. I asked her if she was certain where she was going when she died. She said an emphatic yes. I told her I was fully counting on being with her forever someday in Heaven. She said she's planning on it, too. And I believe it.
So the slow goodbye is really a "see ya later", not a final goodbye. But it's still tough to say, and I will miss having her in my life in so many ways.