On Monday I finally went to see my Nana. It was a difficult goodbye and I dreaded it so much. I barely said two words to my husband the whole drive. And believe me, only two words in an hour is a statement in itself. He was worried. (If you're concluding that I always have something to say- you win.) We arrived to meet my parents before going in to see her. I thought I was doing ok, but then I saw my daddy. You know when you were a kid and you fell and scraped your knee, holding in tears only until you see your Mom's face before falling apart?
Yup, that's my dad. Still works. Every time.
I lost it. But I knew I had to see her. To say goodbye. To tell her she could go home and didn't have to wait any more. I was the last one....I just couldn't do it before. I wasn't ready. But she was my Nana- she deserved a goodbye. I wanted to show her the same love and respect she had modeled to me growing up. I wanted to tell her I loved her again.
She's been sick for a long time. She was diagnosed with dementia four years ago, but for the last year and a half she hasn't recognized any of us. I used to see her every day, until the day she walked right by me in the hallway. And then the next time I went she was rocking a baby doll, singing my favorite song... it was too painful. I've wrestled guilt for a while, not visiting her in so long. Not being strong enough to handle the pain just to see her. She never knew... we were just faces at that point. But I still feel badly about it. When I went to say goodbye, I was taken back. She wasn't at all the Nana I had known. The pictures I had memorized in my mind.
She was sleeping. Snoring actually. loudly. The medications they had said. It took me a while to enter the room. We stood around the bed, talked about the funny memories and little quirks we all loved about Nana. We cried. And then I had them leave so I could say goodbye.
At first I just sat and held her hand. What can you say to a woman who loved you all your life, who made the best root beer floats, taught you to knit, gave you "mcdonalds money", had tea parties with real china and was present at every important event in your life?
I love you. I miss you. Your skin is still so soft and lovely.
Tuesday evening my mom called. She wanted my younger brother to spend the night. She thought it was time. Two hours later she called my brother, Nana had gone to be with the Lord. I didn't cry. I needed to be the one to be strong. And praise the Lord he gave me the strength.
It was a hard evening for all of us. But a celebration too. There is no more pain, tears, or fear for her now. She is sitting at the foot of Christ. In awe of his splendor.
As difficult as its been to watch my Nana become weaker and weaker, I have a better grasp on her death. She lived life, she honored the Lord. She loved and was loved. Her death is mourned, but it was expected.
Brandon's...I'm not handling so well. He was 25. Only two years older than I am. His life was just beginning. I try and make sense of this roller coaster of military life. I try and understand the sacrifice and dedication that I have become part of. That I take pride and honor in.
But now it's different. Now it's personal. It's close. Too close.
Before, this horrid fear caught in the pit of your stomach was around the corner.... on the next page forbidden to be turned... Now, it's next door. It's not that "I can't imagine", "It won't happen to me"... it's real. This scary, horrid, painful fear is real.
You can't escape it. You can't deny it. You can't ignore it.
I sit here typing as my gorgeous soldier plays baseball on the wii, and life appears so simple...uncomplicated. safe. But it isn't.
Tomorrow he could deploy. Tomorrow he could be that soldier. that blackhawk crew chief. Tomorrow that could be me answering that knock on the door. It's unlikely sure, but it could happen.
But fear can't win. It can't control us. It can't control me.
because my God is BIGGER. GREATER. MIGHTIER.
He will give me enough grace for each moment. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Don't know where to begin