February 1998

I didn't make the emergency deathwatch road trip to say goodbyeGram died. We just returned from New York for her funeral. I feel bad about the fact that I didn’t see her in the nursing home recently. Last time I talked to her, I was calling to say I was coming to visit, but I never actually went. She had not been doing well, and had pretty much summoned her family to say goodbye. My mom had explained to me that Gram had been on a recent steep decline with some sort of blockage in her system, and that she was almost black in color, which was hard to imagine, because she was typically fair-skinned with round pink cheeks, her face shape matching her short, apple figure.

I had wanted to visit, but our airplane was in the shop, so Lou couldn’t fly me up, and he insisted that I not drive. Despite the fact that she was 90, he assumed it was just a false alarm, and that my family was over-reacting about her condition. So, I called her to at least be able to talk, and she was told me how badly she was feeling, and that she didn’t know how much longer she would be around. In the middle of the conversation, she said that a nurse had come, and that she had to hang up, but asked that I call back in a bit. At that point, I told Lou that she sounded terrible, and that I was going to make the trip to see her one way or another. The matter wasn’t yet settled between us when I called Gram back about an hour later, but by then, she sounded like a completely different person. She said that she had just suddenly been able to finally go to the bathroom to clear out her system and felt so much better. Then she was chatty, upbeat, and happy, and we had a nice conversation about Anjelica and other normal topics. Frankly, it was probably one of the most pleasant, enjoyable chats I had ever had with her in my entire life. So, needless to say, I didn’t make the emergency deathwatch road trip to say goodbye.

Hopefully she is happier now. I believe that once your body dies, your eternal spirit continues on in peace, yet with a clear vision of your human life and of your loved ones, and that most souls are able to see where they had become off-purpose and disconnected from love. I believe that they forgive and want forgiveness for the errors and shortcomings while in bodily form. Most of my memories of Gram are not of happy times, but of conflict and issues. From my perspective, she and Aunt Mamie fought their entire lives, yet Mamie was always there looking out for her sister, trying to make her happy, right up until her own death. My mom seemed to never be able to do enough to satisfy her mother either. We’d visit her for hours, and yet we couldn’t leave without hearing how short the time had been, and couldn’t we come again soon when we could stay longer. My parents bought her a special lift chair at home, and she complained that it attacked her. When she had needed emergency service, she wasn’t grateful for the rescue help, but angry at the damage done breaking into the house to reach her. I found it difficult to ever become emotionally close to my grandmother when I could see how much she upset both Mamie and my parents for as far back as I can remember. She didn’t even try to hide the fact that she vehemently disliked my father, who was only six years her junior.

Actually, it’s my dad I’m worried about now. He is very tired and weak. He just turned 84, so it’s natural for him to have less energy, but I knew something was really wrong when he didn’t have the strength to come to the airport to meet us when we flew in for Gram’s funeral. When I walked into my parents’ house, he was sleeping in a reclining chair in the darkened living room; I immediately had a clear image of him dead. We are waiting on test results to find out why he is so exhausted.

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