The last week of my life has seen a wedding, a wake and a career change. I’ve laughed and cried more than I have in the last year of my life, often at the same time. Life is short and good and you need to enjoy every moment of it, even if it is your last.
My grandma passed away on Monday night. I arrived at the hospital right after she took her last breath.
(Grandma was never one for big entrances or dramatic exits; when it’s time to go, it’s time to go.)
I was so, so fortunate as to be able to be a part of her send-off, surrounded by my dad and his sisters. We held hands and cried and sung songs to Grandma, joking through tears that she might have exited stage left because of our terrible karaoke.
When the time came, the women in my family gathered around Grandma. We silently shed her old hospital gowns and bandages; my Aunt Susie (a former nurse), taking care of the tubes and cords that were no longer needed. Aunt Dondi started humming a simple tune, and we lovingly washed her clean. Aunt Lori brought out her beautiful purple dressing gown, as Aunt Shelly anointed her in her favorite perfume. We applied simple lipstick and brushed her hair. When we finished, Grandma looked radiant.
(Grandpa won’t believe his eyes when he sees you tonight, Grandma.)
And then it is time to leave. We say our good-byes, walk to our cars and drive away. We wake up the next day and start anew.
Somehow, we carry on.