A week ago yesterday, my Dad took my Grandma to the hospital because she was in a tremendous amount of pain. As a result of the leukemia she was fighting, her spleen had doubled in size and part of the vessels had died. The spleen could not be removed because she was not strong enough to survive the surgery. Two days later she passed away.
When my parents first told me her funeral was going to be on Valentine's Day I could not believe it. The longer I thought about this, the more I realized my family had made the perfect decision. The love between my Grandparents was so strong it radiates through our entire family. Our love is the foundation my family is built on, and Valentine's Day was the perfect day to lay Grandma to rest.
My contribution to the services was a slide show. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I put one together and was very proud of the result. On the day of the visitation I called my Dad for about the tenth time that day (it wasn't noon yet) and he told me he was trying to write a speech for the funeral. I asked who was speaking, and her replied "probably one of your cousins." Why them Dad? Why didn't you ask me? I know why they didn't ask me. Because I'm a bawl baby. At that point I was determined to speak at Grandma's funeral.
The morning of the funeral I still didn't have my speech written. Everyone kept telling me I needed to write it down so that if I began having trouble the minister could take over for me. My thoughts: Whatever, I don't need him.
So, I ate my lunch and proceeded to the sanctuary to sit alone with my Grandma and wrote my speech. It was so hard. There were so many memories and things that I wanted to share with everyone who came to say good bye to my Grandma. But I knew they wouldn't let me talk all day, so I had to narrow it down. I shared highlights of my memories with her from my childhood, as well as the three "rules" in life I knew she would always want me to follow.
1. Be the bigger person
2. Always wear lipstick
3. Remain loyal to the family
But that didn't feel like enough. So I decided to share with everyone how/why I had been able to cope since Grandma's passing. It all leads back to Grace. My Grace. My precious five year old, who has pulled me through the last week.
Since the day she was born Grace had a special bond with my daughter. Maybe it's because she was the first Great Granddaughter, maybe it's because she was my daughter, but my Grandma always said Grace is an angel. Not because she's well behaved and adorable, I mean because my Grandma thought she was an angel living among us. After the last couple of days, I believe she may have been right.
Grandma passed at 10:30 on Saturday night. On Sunday morning I went to Grace's room and she asked me why I was so sad. I told her I was sad because Grandma Linda went to heaven and I was going to miss her a lot. Here's what my daughter told me:
Momma, Grandma Linda wants everyone to stop crying. She's an angel now, and she's wearing a gold dress.
Immediate call to my Dad and text to my Aunt.
On the day of the funeral I was in the bathroom putting curlers in my hair when Grace came in. She asked where I was going. I told her I had to go to a meeting, but afterwards I would come get her and her sisters to go to a dinner party at MiMi's house. Grace, "what's the party for?" Me, "to celebrate how much we loved Grandma Linda." Next is what Grace had to say,
"That's why she's wearing her dress with hearts on it, it's blue with purple hearts. Don't you see her Mommy?" The question was asked to me like I was silly for not knowing what dress she had on and why I didn't know that for myself.
Grace continued, "Grandma Linda said to put your Valentine's under your pillow and she will get them there. It was so pretty Momma, she went through a tunnel of light." At this point I believe I quit breathing for at least a minute.
I shared that story with everyone at the funeral because I know my Grandma is at peace. Her suffering is over, and she is now our family's guardian angel. Today I went to the cemetery and took her a cinnamon roll (her FAVORITE) for breakfast and begged her to stay with Grace. I don't know if she will, or if Grace will continue to see her, but I hope she does. It brings me great peace knowing she is still with the family. My love for my Grandma has no boundaries. Without her, I would not be the woman I am today. And by the way, the bawl baby made it through her entire eulogy. I teared up a lot, but I made it.