I started this post a while ago and I was not able to finish it, because it made me too sad, but today seemed like a good day to finish, so I did.

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I just recently got back from a trip to IL to visit my mom and dad. I took Nicholas with me, and it was nice to visit family. It would have been even nicer if we didn’t get sick while we were there, but at least we got to spend some quality time together. The day before I left, I was feeling a little better, and wanted to go see my grandma, so we went to visit her in the nursing home.

Grandma went into the nursing home a little over a year ago, and her health has not been good since. I was able to have a good visit with her last February (2012) and she was able to meet and hold Nicholas. When I went to visit her, I remember thinking to myself that her body was old and worn. She did not look well physically; which may seem like a strange thing to notice. But the modern culture of women tend to be obsessed with body image, and I just remember thinking that my grandma was beautiful, despite the obvious signs of age and fatigue, despite the fact that her hair wasn’t fixed the way she would have wanted it to be. She was beautiful because of what those wrinkles depicted — a happy simple life; the love she has given to her 7 children, 26 (?) grandchildren, and (I lost count) great-grandchildren. And the love that still radiated from her warm smile, even though she wasn’t sure who I was- she just knew that she knew me. And she still loved to see her great-grandchildren. Nothing brought a bigger smile to her face than to see her babies.

My daughter was able to visit with Grandma Olyta over the summer. Nadia would go to the nursing home with my mom and paint Grandma’s nails, and visit with her. I am glad they had that time together.When I think of my grandma, one of my most cherished memories is from when my daughter was just a few days old. I was home with this helpless little newborn, alone, and I hadn’t the slightest idea what to do with this little infant. But I called my grandma and she came to help me. She knew just what to do. She held my baby in her arms and rocked her and comforted her. It was so natural to her to know how to care for a baby, and in comforting my daughter, she calmed me and showed me how to love and care for this little baby.

As I said earlier, I was able to see Grandma in the first part of December. Not as much as I would have liked. The day we were well enough to go see her, she was too tired to wake up. She layed in her bed, napping. My mom and I talked to her, but she would just flutter her eyelids. She couldn’t wake up. I leaned over her bed and I let Nicholas touch her hand. He held her hand for awhile and looked at her. He smiled. He patted her. And I held her hand too, knowing full well it may be the last time I got to see her.

As I stood there, holding her hand, I couldn’t help but think about how small and fragile she looked, like a newborn baby. It is strange how in life we revert back to similar stages of infancy as we age; our teeth fall out, we forget how to walk, our food needs to be pureed, and sometimes we even have to wear diapers again. And we need to be held. At that moment, I wanted so badly to pick up my grandma and cradle her in my arms, just like she has done to so many of us, and so many of our children. I wanted to rock her, and comfort her, and tell her everything would be alright. Just like she has done for me, and my daughter, and so many other children in her life.

It was tough to walk out of her room that day. She has poured so much love over so many lives, and I just wish I could have spent more time holding her hand and comforting her. But I just had to remember that I would see her again some day. Some day. And that I should honor the lessons she has taught me. And give the love to my family that she always has given to her family, recognizing that each and every one of us is special.

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My grandmother passed away this morning. Today would have been my grandpa’s birthday. I like to think that they are having an awesome birthday reunion party in heaven right now. Tonight I will celebrate with my family, too, and make a chocolate (grandma) cake with rhubarb sauce on top, and talk about memories of our grandparents.

 

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