About 4 years ago I lost a woman that meant so much to me. And you know what? It was ok. Grandma Peg had lived a good, long life. She had battled cancer multiple times and was on oxygen 24/7 due to Advanced Pulmonary Fibrosis. For a while, I would help out by taking her to radiation. I spent a few years cleaning her house and going grocery shopping for her every week. Then when she couldn’t live alone anymore, she moved into an adult care home. I visited ever other day or so. We spent a lot of time together. She always had such a great attitude. She was an amazing woman. She was ready to go. And it was ok.
To better understand, let me take you back to just 5 weeks prior to this day. You seem my other grandma, who had also been battling Advanced Pulmonary Fibrosis had suddenly taken a turn for the worse and had slipped into a coma of sorts. She was surrounded by family and was never left alone. I went over there at one point to sit with her and as I was leaving her room, I realized that this was the last time I would likely see my grandma alive. I never got to tell her how much I loved her and how much I would miss her and how much I loved being the one to bring her communion at home most Sundays and how much I enjoyed the prayers we said together. Her death was so very hard on me. It was not ok.
So, after that, I didn’t want the same thing to happen when Grandma Peg passed away. So, naturally, I did what I do when most things get tough and I need to collect my thoughts, I wrote her a letter. And then carried it around with me for the next 3 weeks, not quite ready to read it to her yet. When I started to notice she was sleeping more and eating less, I decided it was time.
Through reading that letter, I told her how much I would miss her and our almost daily visits. I thanked her for all she had taught me. I thanked her for listening. I thanked her for the meals we shared together. I told her how I have cherished our time together. I told her how much I admired her and how amazing and strong I thought she was. I told her I loved her.
She squeezed my hand.
She smiled the way only a Grandma can smile.
She passed away within a couple of weeks of me reading that letter to her. And you know what? It was ok. I was ready for it. I was ok.
And today, through my tears, even though I miss her, I know it’s ok.