Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dear Grandma....

To my sweet grandmother.  Oh how I miss you. We laid you to rest on February 13th in Lewiston Idaho. You are now in heaven, free from the bounds of Alzheimers that held you for the past seven years. Even though I know that you are happy, I will miss you so much. I have missed you for the past several years as we have seen the disease slowly take you from us. At the beginning I remember thinking that you would never forget us, how could you? How was that even possible? That is the horrible reality of Alzheimers. I remember talking to my mom and talking about how even though you could not remember the conversation that we would have, minutes after it happened, in those few minutes that we were talking, it was you.  We treasured. those little moments.  Thank you for being such a wonderful grandmother and friend. I will cherish all of the memories that I have with you.

When I saw you in your casket at the funeral, you did not look like yourself. But then I noticed, that even though your face did not look the same, your hair looked perfect. I think if you had to choose, you would have chosen to have your hair perfect =)  You always took great care of your hair, and although we teased you about how much time you spent on it, it was a great lesson of the importance of always trying to look your best. 

A few days before you passed away I had a dream. I want to record it so I do not forget it. In the dream we were going to a large house. In this house we were able to see the spirits of our relatives who had passed away. They were all sitting in a row, waving at us, so happy to see us. As I looked down the line, I saw someone flickering in and out, like they were not completely there. I realized it was you. Sitting right next to you was your mother, exactly as I remember her when she was alive, but a little younger looking. You looked younger too. Your arms were linked and she was clasping your hand so tight. She was pointing to everyone and explaining to you what was happening. You both looked so happy.

The next morning my mom text me and told me that you had been placed in hospice care and only had a few more days to live. This was shocking. We knew that the disease would take you, but we had no idea that it would be so soon. I am grateful for the tender mercy that my dream was. I know that you were surrounded by angels in your last days, who were helping to prepare you to leave this earth. For the past several months, you had been asking for your mother everyday, I know as soon as she was able to grab a hold of you and hug you, she did. How hard it must have been to see you suffering and wanting her so badly. I know that you saw your dear daughter Kristin Joe, who passed away several years ago. I still remember her smile even though I was so young when she passed away. I was able to read her journals a few years back, and came to know the wonderful person she was . She loved you so much. I know she was there to welcome you into heaven and that, the reunion with her was glorious. 

I feel strongly that during your last days the veil was very thin. I think you were aware of what was happening and that your time on earth was coming to an end. I think you knew that grandpa, and your two daughters on earth were lovingly sitting by you, soaking up every last minute that they had with you. I like to think that for brief a moment the Alzheimers was gone, and you were very aware of who they were and remembered how much you loved them. I think that your heart would not be content leaving until you were able to let them how much you loved them and that you wanted them to know that you knew who they were. For a brief moment one morning you opened your eyes. Grandpa told you that my mom and aunt were there. You said, "I know they are". What a tender mercy and a gift. A gift that you were able to give them.

Speaking of grandpa. My mom has a quote in her home that says, "True Love Never Grows Old." From the moment I saw that, I thought of you and grandpa. Grandpa took such good care of you. Even though you may not have completely known who he was, he never forgot who you were, and how much he loved you. You were and will always be his sweetheart, and he treated you that way until your last day on earth. What I great example of selfless unconditional love. 

At your funeral I was reminded of some of the things you use to say such as, "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."  And, "pretty is as pretty does." I was able to use one of those sayings with Alexis today. I want to keep your memory alive for my children. I want them to know the wonderful woman that you were, and how much you impacted me in my life. 

I know that I will see you again. I know that you are happy. I know that you are now watching over us, and that you are you again. For that I am so grateful.

I love you grandma,




Babzanne Barker said...

Oh, dear sweet Diana! What a beautiful post. I have tears streaming down my face--thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a perfect way. I'll make sure Grandpa sees this; I know it will mean so much to him. I love and miss you! Mom