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Lost My Grandma

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On April 11, 2011 my beautiful Grandma died at home. I hate even calling her a Grandma - for she raised me - she was more like my mom than my Grandma. She was my best friend - my biggest supporter - the one person I always knew would love me no matter what.

First - I get so mad when I hear people say, "Yah - I lost my Grandma too. It is hard but you just have to get over it." I honestly feel like there are some people you never get over. My Grandfather died 5 years before I was born and my Grandma never got over that - she still cried on his birthday - and missed him on all holidays. My Aunt died when she was 12 years old - and same thing - she was always missed. Grandma was more than a Grandma to me - she was my rock.

Plus - I am angry. Not at anyone in particular -just at the way life turned out for her. She grew up very poor in the Great Depression. She married my Grandpa and things were going well until he started having strokes and couldn't work anymore. Then my aunt died. Then my Grandpa died leaving Grandma alone to raise three young children. She didn't even know how to drive - she had been a house wife. She had nothing but her home and her children. Now - she never said a word - she loved us and she told me many times, "I am rich - I own my home and I have my family - that is all I need." She went to bed hungry at times. She went without most of her life. She was always an active woman and took care of herself - walking to the store for groceries - heating her house with wood - keeping her driveway cleared of snow - keeping a house so clean you could eat off the floor - but the last four years took her vision and her hearing - thus it took what quality of life she did have. I am mad that she had to spend the last four years of her life sitting in a chair - unable to see and hear. I am mad that she didn't get the nice things in life. I am mad that she could never go to a grocery store and get what she wanted - only what she needed (and sometimes not even that). I am just mad!

Also - I feel guilty. I moved back up to Michigan 10 years ago to be near her. I had my first child and initially I was over there all the time. Then - 8 years ago - the second child came and I had to start working - so I saw her less often. Then my oldest got sick - thus I saw her even less. Finally - four years ago I had twins. Between four children and my part time job I didn't get over there hardly at all. I tried to take her shopping with me every other week - that was our time together - shopping and lunch - but even that got so hard with the twin babies and her not being able to see that I had to stop doing that on a regular basis. She would sometimes say, "I saw you more when you lived in Indiana than I do now." That was the only thing she ever said about it. About that time she couldn't hear to talk on the phone anymore - so for the last four years I didn't see her as much as I should have. My mom said she understood - she knew I was busy and as much as I love my husband he works such long hours that the children and the house are mine to care for. I just feel so bad for that lost time. I would beg my husband to allow my Grandma to move in with us - or allow me to spend a couple of nights over there but all he would say is, "We have our own family to take care of now - she knows that. Plus - you are just a Grandchild - this is what her children should be doing."

Well - I missed talking to her these past couple of years. Even when I did visit she couldn't hear well. I would just sit and hold her beautiful hands. I miss her hands - they were the most beautiful hands I ever saw. My Aunt stayed with her and cared for her these last few years - but I know my aunt was meant to her - bordering on abuse - but Grandma never wanted to be put in a home - she wanted to live in her house her entire life. Grandpa built that house for her and that is where she wanted to be. A couple of months ago my husband was offered a job in Florida that he accepted and he moved down there - the rest of us to join him when school lets out. She was the first person I wanted to call and tell about it - but I couldn't. She couldn't hear me.

I didn't want her to die - but I am glad I was still up here when she did. I am glad I was near by and spent those last few days at her home - even though she was catatonic those last couple of days - she squeezed my hands once and made a throat noise when I spoke to her - I so hope she knew how much I love her!

The Thursday before she died I stopped by her house - I had to grocery shop and my step father was going to watch my twins for me and he was staying at her house for that week. She had a great day. I swear she could even see and hear better than she had seen and heard in years. Her face lit up when she saw me. We had a great talk. I told her about Florida and she kept telling me how much she was going to miss me when I was gone. I shopped and my twins were there with her - they ate lunch with her. She got to see and hear them play. It was a good day. Then that night she took a turn for the worse.

She died the following Monday. I am just so heartbroken and empty. Part of me wanted to crawl in that casket and be buried with her. She was laid beside my Grandpa on what would have been his 95th birthday. I had to watch it all. I had to watch them close the casket to make sure she was OK. I had to watch them put her in the ground. I had to watch them close the vault. I had to make sure she was OK. It was almost a beautiful thing - seeing how close her vault was to my Grandpa's. There were only an inch apart. My entire life she told me this was where she was going to be - Grandpa on one side and Aunt Mary on the other. They all had a strong faith so I know they are together - somewhere.

Now I am just broken. My husband in Florida - me here with four kids. Having to find a way to function. Having to find a way to make meals and keep the house clean. I drive by her house and sit on her porch and cry. I am glad she isn't sitting in that chair blind and deaf anymore - being abused by my aunt - but I miss her so much and wish I could have her back - could hold her hand again. I have had moments where I just don't want to be here anymore - I want to be where my Grandma is. Not saying I want to kill myself - just saying I don't want to be where she isn't. NO one will ever love me like my Grandma did. . .

This has turned into a ramble. . . Sorry . .

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