My grandmother passed away on Mother’s Day 2010.
She wasn’t deathly ill when she went to the hospital in late April of that year, but after she checked in, she didn’t check out. It was a bad time for something to go wrong. My grandparents lived in my parents’ basement, and while completely self-sufficient in their mid-80s, my mom still handled much of their wellness issues and advocacy.
As a former nurse, she knew the ins and outs of things and when to go to the hospital and when not to. When my Nan got sick this time, however, my parents were in the middle east on a long vacation. So my grandfather took my grandmother for a check-up and she offered this cheery assessment.
How I wish her words would have come true. Her condition worsened, she likely caught something else while on the ward, and she just never improved, eventually dying on Mother’s Day. We all held out hope that things would turn around, but even she seemed to know at some point she wasn’t coming home.
Just this week, over a decade later, my mother found a notebook while she was going through some things and cleaning up. It was a notebook my grandmother had kept while in the hospital.
It seems she had started a list of items she wanted everyone to have. While she made mention of some teddy bears and some cups and saucers, her list was incomplete. Everyone’s names were there, but she hadn’t handed out the treasures completely.
Alongside the list, however, was something more valuable than an heirloom. Understanding what was happening, she wrote a note to all who she was leaving. It’s just stunningly unselfish, heartwarming, and the perfect words only a grandmother could conjure while on her deathbed.
My love for each of you bubbles up within me at the thoughts of all the memories we have created through our lifetime.As long as we love each other and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away.All the love you created is still there.All the memories are still there. You live on in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here.Death ends a life not a relationship.Mum-Nan-Gr.Nan
I miss her so much, but every now and again she pops back into my world. I’m a hoarder of cards, and I have many notes stashed in my office that she wrote to me in thank you cards or random letters. Just now I’m going through another box she curated and archived with photos from my infant days. I’m scanning them to better archive online in my folders.