My grandmom passed away a few weeks ago. She fought to stay with us, far longer than expected. She would have been 94 last week but like a good 94. A relatively spry, still sharp 94. But this summer just spiraled out of control. She wanted to stay at home and my mom made it work. That’s how my family does it. My great-grandmother was cared for by my great-aunt and grandmom in my aunt’s home.
My grandpop was in an ICU in philly for months, and my grandmom took the train up every morning and we’d pick her up at night. When Nora was in the NICU and Matt started to think about how long she’d be there, the one thing I knew was that we’d be there. I grew up on this. I was raised on figuring it out and being there.
My mom told me that a few days before she passed, my grandmom cried out, ‘Judy. She’s dying’, and clawed at her clothes. This has broken my heart. Judy died when she was 13 of lupus. My grandmom died 55 years later to the day that Judy died. It doesn’t go away. That heartbreak. I just hope they are all together now.
Earlier this summer, when things became more fraught, I mailed her a thank you card and wrote this inside:
Thank you for teaching me so much. You and grandpop taught me soulmates exist. Your strength taught me a person can survive a broken heart.
You taught me the importance of a sense of humor, not taking yourself too seriously, and it’s ok to laugh at your own joke.
You taught me the joy of red wine, happy hour and to say ‘the hell with it and to pour a little more.
It’s true. My grandmom never shied away from talking about Judy or my grandmom. They were great loves that she lost. She had faith there was a reason for it and they’d be together again. I don’t know if I have that faith, but I want it to be true. She kept her sense of humor and managed to keep on living. That’s all I can hope for. I miss her.