As I write this, I am flying over New Jersey on my way to visit my family in Wilmington, North Carolina. My mother’s mother passed away yesterday at the ripe old age of 89 and I am heading down to help with the funeral arrangements and to make sure the rest of the family is handling things well.
Grandma’s death is hitting me pretty hard because I was particularly close with her. After my parents and siblings moved to North Carolina, Grandma and I were the only ‘Yankees’ left. We would take car trips down to visit them and spend the 11 ½-hour ride chatting and laughing and making inappropriate jokes. She always had such a great sense of humor… and she was so excited for us to start a family. Every time I called her, she would send her love to my husband and ask me if I was happy. I always was.
Right before she passed away, I had spoken with her over the telephone from her room in the rehab facility where she was recovering after a bad fall. She wasn’t in pain, but her breathing was weak and it was difficult for her to speak for more than a few minutes without having to take a break. I knew that she didn’t have much longer to live, but the doctors thought that a few weeks was a good estimate, so I hadn’t purchased an earlier flight. I’m kicking myself for that, but I am trying to tell myself that she knew how much she was loved and how much I will miss those conversations, those car rides, those little things that you take for granted.
During our final conversation, I told her about potential baby names for our child (or children). One of them is a combination of her parents’ names, and she seemed really happy to hear about that. She passed away without any pain after a nice, quiet dinner. I will think of her every day, and I hope that our attempt to bring life into the world will help balance out the loss of one of the good ones.
We leave in less than 2 weeks for Mumbai, and with a heavy heart, I wish my grandma all the joys of finally being back in her husband’s arms.