I hardly know where to begin...Life has moved at warp speed since my sister called me to let me know my Grandma had passed away. After I got the call I made flight arrangements, got work stuff squared away so I could be gone a few days (and I must say my company was so fantastic yet again about letting me go and do what I needed to do for my family- they are great that way and I am very grateful). I spent all day flying on Friday then my sister-in-law picked me up. Then it was off to the tattoo shop to drop off a sketch of my tat, then begin making the rounds of seeing people and getting settled- as settled as you can get for a weekend trip.
So its only now when things have finally slowed down that I can even begin to process all that has happened and what it all means to me.
The plane ride home was not as bad as I thought it would be. I feared it would be a repeat of the flight home after Troy died but this was a very different trip. Obviously when you have a 92 year old Grandma (I was off a year and corrected about her age- several times) it is not a shock when they pass.Very very sad but not a surprise and as I mentioned before I know she was no longer living the life she wanted- and hadn't for a long time. Still there is no denying there is a hole in the universe where she just was, just a moment ago and I can still feel her presence in the empty space.
So the trip home...
It was my first time back to my brothers house. When Debbie (my sisterinlaw) took me there I am sure she didn't even think about that and I didn't say anything on purpose. As we were driving I was wondering what my reaction would be....if asked I probably would have said I didn't want to go but I figured if this is when it was supposed to happen- so be it. We pulled in and I was nervous to see the garage but it didn't look the same to me at all. It was just a garage. And Debbie put in a hot tub in the backyard which made it look different, just different enough to make it comfortable. I didn't feel or see any "ghosts" of memories although I didn't stare too long at the spot where I took the last pic of Troy- which is still in my phone. At the end of the day its not my brother's house now, its just a house and its where my nephew and sisterinlaw live. Its just a place and I am glad I went there and can cross that off my list.
As I got back that is what everyone wanted to know....what was every one's reaction to you from home? what did your family say?? I have to admit I did not get a really big reaction from anyone but I also know that it wasn't about me. In fact I felt really bad about me and people's reaction to me taking away from the reason I was home. However, it is what is it and I can't take away of change what any one's honest reaction is and its a good moment so again, if this is how it was supposed to happen so be it. Don't get me wrong I got a huge positive reaction and great comments and feedback and I was not looking for a parade but its not like anyone didn't know who I was either.
The best reaction actually had to have come from some close family friends- Konnie, Mike and Stacie. They were driving by my Dad's house as we were out walking my sister's dogs and they stopped and whipped their car back around to come see me. Gotta admit I have never stopped a car before- pretty cool ;)
The event we had for Grandma...I think it was officially called a "celebration of life"...went well. My mom's friends had set up a lunch in one of the rooms of the nursing home and we had a fair number of people come through- especially since it was a fricking blizzard!! Don't get me started on how unimpressed I was by the Iowa weather! It was good to have my BFF's Julie and Kim there- they have been by my side since we were toddlers and I love them both so much. It was great to see Michele and Jaime too (and Jaime, please tell everyone how much we appreciate how you guys took care of my grandma- I know you loved her too and that makes me feel so good).
I have to say though, of all the things that happened over the weekend the most significant and special thing that happened is the gift I got from my mother- Sandy's watch.
Sandy Luann was my Grandma's first daughter and she died when she was 17. She was blind and even though they told my Grandma to put her in a institution she refused and instead they sent her to the School for the Blind. I have heard bits of stories about Sandy all my life, how she loved puzzles and how beautiful she was and how she loved to laugh. I have some pot holders she made in school but the one thing I always think of when I think about Sandy (besides being her namesake) is her watch. It is a beautiful gold watch that my Grandma had in a small glass bell, it is a Braille watch, for Sandy- the lid flips open and there are Braille numbers (that is Sandy and my mom in the pic). There is a hook at the top and a wooden base. I can remember seeing that watch all the way back to my earliest memories, always on mt Grandma's dresser. She always always told me how one day that watch would be mine and I would hold it so gently knowing how precious it was. When Grandma moved into the nursing home the watch went to Mom and I assumed there it would stay.
Toni and I went over to talk to Mom on Saturday afternoon and we sat at the table like we have hundreds of times before but then Mom said she had something for me and went down into the family room and came back with Sandy's watch and sat it in front of me.
I was stunned. I never expected that in a million years. She told me she wanted me to have it and that Grandma would want me to have it. She had planned on giving it to me on my birthday but felt the timing was right now instead. I couldn't hold back the tears knowing the significance of this gift. Mom told me it represents not just one life but 3- Sandy, my Mom and my Grandma. It was just the 3 of them against the world for so long and then Sandy died and it was just my Mom and Grandma. Now its just my Mom and I know how many tears and laughs and heartaches are attached to this watch.That is why I couldn't speak and why the tears wouldn't stop.
It was a moment of a lifetime and I was so honored and awed by the power of it all. It is very rare to have moments like that in your life and somehow it was beyond right that as I sat there with my sister and mother looking at a watch that signified that life of 3 women- that is was being passed on just as life goes on.