Summer 2016 Challenge: Day 5
On February 10th, the world lost this amazing woman and Heaven gained an angel. My grandma Arlene suffered terribly from Alzheimers and didn’t know who she was or who anyone was when she died. She had been living in a nursing home for about 5-6 months and just went downhill from there. It’s a terrible disease and I don’t wish it upon anyone. She was 81 years old.
I don’t have many photos of my grandma and I together, so the ones that I do have I hold onto deeply. Michael and I had gone out to her house last summer to help get things cleaned up in preparation of her going into the nursing home. During that visit, she was living in the past and didn’t know who I was but she was proud of her new house that they had built and her family. She and my grandpa had raised 6 boys in the house they built with their own two hands, and that was the time she was transported back to. It was hard not laugh sometimes when she gave me a tour of the house I had known since birth.
I hold tight to this photo because this was the last time I would see her before going into the nursing home. She would fall ill just a few days later. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to go out when we did and even though she had no idea who I was, she did agree to take a photo with me.
This (I believe) is my only other photo of her and I on my wedding day on June 24th, 2006. I absolutely love how we are practically the same height. Not that we have anything to brag about but I certainly get my shortness from her side of the family.
Right after we had Shawn, I couldn’t wait to take him out for a visit to see my grandma. Here she is holding him at 6 weeks old. She was so scared to hold him but I assured her that she was going to be ok and that I was right there. Michael snapped some photos of her with him and I will treasure them forever.
She was always a wonderful, sweet woman and I don’t ever remember a time when she was mean or nasty to me. I remember spending so much time with her doing various things from gardening, crafting (she loved to make things out of plastic canvas), watching the TV show “Road to Avonlea”, playing cards, and just hanging out with her. I can still hear she voice telling me to “simmer down” whenever we got too riled up as kids.
Today we had a small ceremony as we buried her ashes next to my grandpa and it was nice to have some closure to her passing. I miss her incredibly and as I was making the drive out to her house today, it felt as though nothing had changed. I would simply pull into the driveway that I have known for the past 36 years and she would be standing on the porch waiting for me. The house has been sold and the papers signed, so this will most likely be my last visit.
During the clean up of the house, I went in search of a spot in the basement I hadn’t seen in years. I have mentioned before that my grandparents built their own house and in 1987 they poured the concrete in the basement. I was 7 years old at the time (the same age Shawn is right now) and I got to write the year and make a hand print. I may never get to see this house again, but at least I know I have left my mark on it.
All along the side of the house grandma had these beautiful lilies and I remember them always coming up year after year. During one of our visits back in May I had Michael dig some up to plant in my own garden beds. As a reminder of her, this house, and my memories of not only her but my grandpa too. I snapped this photo this afternoon of them as they are now in bloom. She may not be with us anymore but there is still beauty in the world.
On the last day I saw her before entering the nursing home, I had asked her for one very special picture. I wanted a picture of her with my grandpa. He died in 1997, and I don’t have any photos (other than her wedding ones) with them together. She agreed to do it, even though she thought it was extremely odd. (In her mind, he was watching TV in the bedroom so this just didn’t make sense to her. She “showed” me him during the tour of the house. lol) I love this photo more than I ever thought I would. It brings together the present and the past and two people that haven’t seen each other for nearly 20 years.
I will always miss my grandma but I am blessed to have had her in my life for the past 36 years. I don’t know how I will get through without her but knowing that she is holding my grandpa’s hand and is watching us from up above, gives me strength that they will help me along the way.