Saturday, November 28, 2009

Remembering a Wonderful Little Lady...

This post is for me.

This is a picture of my maternal Grandparents on their wedding day in 1942. They had four children, 13 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, with 3 more on the way. My grandfather was a dentist and lived with his inlaws until he built his own home when my mother, the eldest, was 18 years old. They stayed in that home until their deaths. Both of them died peacefully in their home, in their bedroom, in their marital bed, surrounded by beloved family members - no hospitals, no medical equipment, no nurses; just love, faith, and trust.

My Granny Goose, as I called her (after an old fashioned brand of potato chips) was 91 years old - one month short of her 92nd birthday on Christmas Eve. She weighed in at 62.4 pounds, fully clothed and shoed, when the girls and I saw her last month on our drive to Chicago. My mom was her primary caregiver and we knew that her time was coming soon so we drove 2,000 miles to spend two weeks with her.

She was my inspiration and passed one week ago on Saturday in the wee hours of the morning of November 21st, on my dad's birthday. And even though I was 2,000 miles away, I was there. I am in awe of how the timing of her death played out, as if God orchestrated it flawlessly. My sister, who lives in Colorado, has two children and because it was Thanksgiving break and her husband had taken off of work, she was able to fly to Chicago by herself to hold my mother's hand through the final moments. My brother, who lives in Chicago, took off of work and rushed to my Gran's house to help my mom and jumped right in there, assisting with some difficult tasks as Gran continued to cough up phlegm from her congested lungs. Gran's oldest son, was also there and sat by quietly as a strong support, representative of his own deceased father.

About 15 minutes before Granny drew her last breath, my brother and sister both had the urge to call me. Each was on either side, holding Granny's hands. My brother, John, was moved when he witnessed Granny lifting up her frail hands and pointing to something at the ceiling that she saw. My brother calming responded, "You see them, don't you." Whether they were angels, loved ones who had passed over, or just a glimpse of Heaven, little Gran saw something and was trying to communicate it, but by then, had lost her ability to speak. John was talking me through everything. And about 10 minutes later, Granny started to struggle. Through tears, John placed the phone by her ear so she could hear me tell her that I love her and to go to the Light. A minute after that, she was gone. She gave me so many gifts in life, but even as she transitioned, she generously gave me one final gift; by allowing me to be *there* as her spirit left her tiny frame.

Today is her funeral and I am unable to attend because I have ear problems which prevent me from flying. I am at peace with that. Gran was not like a second mother to me, because she was just my Gran. She was something special, which I can't put words to. We spent 38 years loving each other and it won't stop now that she's no longer physically on this earth.

This is a picture of Granny and me dancing at my wedding 11 years ago. I had a large wedding with over 450 people and we stopped the wedding so Granny and I could share a short dance, alone on the dance floor while she was serenaded with a song sung by Maurice Chevalier in 1929. It is entitled, "Louise", Granny's first name.

Every little breeze seems to whisper 'Louise'.
Birds in the trees seem to twitter 'Louise'.
Each little rose tells me it knows I love you (love you)

Every little beat that I feel in my heart
Seems to repeat what I felt at the start.
Each little sigh tells me that I adore you, Louise.

Just to see and hear you is joy I never knew.
But to be so near you thrills me through and through.

Anyone can see why I wanted your kiss.
It had to be, but the wonder is this:
Can it be true, someone like you
Could love me, Louise.

May God bless you and keep you always, Granny...


  1. Thanks for the support & sweet comments ladies. It's amazing how much more important these lovely matriarchs become after you have children yourself. So much to be grateful for and so many memories to treasure...(((hugs)))

  2. I know that post was hard for you to write, I am wiping my eyes as I type this comment. Thanks for sharing something so personal. I'm sorry you can not make it to her memorial. I missed my grandmother's funeral last summer, and as much as I wanted to be there I just couldn't. I realized it was not so important that I was at the funeral after she was gone, as it was that I was there with her in life. Those small moments with the ones we love, all woven together are what makes a life well lived.

  3. Jenn, thank you for your touching comment. You are so right about the moments we spent together being of utmost importance. While we both may have missed the funerals, we did not miss sharing our lives with our grandmas. You are so gifted with words & I really appreciate your support and intuitive compassion.