by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager
I had planned on sharing a really great, heart-warming hospice patient story with you all today. But then I found out that my grandmother died this morning. So I’ve switched gears just a little. I think this will still turn out to be a heart-warming read, so don’t worry about getting all sad. I promise that the really great story will come next week. And I promise that you’ll really love it.
My grandmother turned 103 years old one week ago today. So her passing was not a huge surprise to us. In fact, we’ve been somewhat prepared for almost three years. But she was always a tricky little thing; she pretty much had the same pattern during this “watchful” time — “Ok, she’s in bad shape (might be a good time to call in the family)” and then, “Oh wait, she’s better!” My grandmother has had more rebounds than the Charlotte Bobcats. But today that pattern ended. And while we’re all a little tearful, at the same time, we’re a bit relieved as well. We are profoundly happy that she is no longer bound by the difficulties of an aging body and mind.
Gran’mom was fortunate that she could, and did, plan for the end of her life. She was a very religious woman who knew her time was limited. So her funeral service is all planned — she had chosen the hymns and the readings, she had decided who would carry the casket. With her affairs in order, all we have to do now is carry out her wishes. That, in itself, is an enormous gift to her family.
We had her 103rd birthday party last Saturday down in Chester, SC. Our family is not too spread out across the region so, luckily, a lot of us were able to make it. I’m not sure how many of us she was able to recognize and I’m pretty sure she couldn’t see or hear us very well, but she knew we were celebrating her and she loved every second of it. She smiled and nodded as the birthday song was sung and she kissed the hands of anyone standing near her. If nothing else, it is a huge comfort to know she was surrounded by her devoted family a mere four days before she died. We should all be so lucky.
In her last days, her speech was pretty much reduced to two sentences: “I love you, I love you, I love you” (always in threes!) and “God Bless you”. But last night (so I’m told), she rallied one last time. My uncle decided that the nursing home meal would just not do, so he went out and bought her a drumstick and all the fixings from KFC. They apparently had a good conversation and she ate very well. I have to think that for a good ole southern gal, fried chicken and mashed potatoes probably made her happier than just about anything else.
There are some poignant lessons I take away from my grandmother’s last days. Never be scared to prepare for the end. Always tell your loved ones how you feel. Or kiss them if you can’t. Celebrate your family. And enjoy every last bite of life.
I love you, I love you, I love you, Gran’mom. God bless you.Explore posts in the same categories: awareness, blog, end of life, grief comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.