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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Heart Broken

This is the hardest post to write ... This month I lost my Granny.  She wasn't just some grandmother in another city or state that passed away (and Im not discounting the pain for anyone who has lost their grandma who lived in another city or state), but she was my buddy!  We had regular dinners - fancy ones until about the last year, in which she really wanted comfort food, so always wanted to go to a local diner called The Avenue.  Trust me, after lobster clubs for lunch and filet for dinner, The Avenue can get pretty old pretty fast.  But it's what she wanted.  I have to say, though, the homemade chicken noodle soup is the best ever.

Granny always said she was a terrible grandmother because she didn't bake or sew.  But we had such a good time together.  We would lounge by her salt water pool in Michigan.  I would help her drive to Florida each year for about the past 8 years (she refused to fly), and we would hang out on the beach and make fun of the swimsuits on people walking by.  When I was young, my family would go to visit her in Florida for spring break.  Granny would "winter" in St. Pete Beach, and spend Feb, March, and April, in the sun each year.  She would leave after she had finished the year-end books for the family company, and come back just as the spring flowers were coming up.  Granny would have her beach cup (kind of like an adult sippy cup, long before we had our starbucks-esque plastic cups with straws).  I would ask Granny for some of her Pepsi, and she would say, "No honey, that's Granny's pop" ... little did I know it had whiskey in it!  HAHA!

And I should tell you that as the grandkids got older (in our teens), we were no longer allowed to call her Granny.  She said that Gran was more appropriate, because Granny sounded like an old lady.

In the last year and half of her life, we spent a lot of time at doctor's offices.  She was having a hard time breathing, so we visited a pulmonologist, who informed us that she had both lung cancer and lymphoma.  Her response was, "Now?  NOW I get cancer?  I'm 86 and I quit smoking 50 years ago!"  We had the pulmonologist, the oncologist, the cardiologist, and the chemo treatments.  She also visited her primary doctor, as well as a pain specialist for her sciatica.  She would say, "It's not easy to live this long."  The chemo, this wonder-drug called Rituxan, actually ONLY battled rapidly multiplying (cancer) cells.  She did not lose her hair or get the "throw-ups", but did mention feeling wiped out for a couple of days after each treatment.  We would drive and she would complain about "those old people" who were going slow.  I would say, "Gran, you're 86!"  She would giggle and say, "So I am!"

She made it through the hustle and bustle of thanksgiving and Christmas, with the whole family coming into town to spend as much time as possible with her (which she loved, but it was extremely exhausting), and right after the new year she went to visit her primary doctor.  She had been deemed "in remission" by the oncologist.  Now, I just thought it was a typical visit, so her care taker took her.  Little did I know that she would tell the doc that she was done with doctors and she was ready to go, and asked to be placed on in-home hospice.  Gran!  What the?  But she's a strong lady who always made her own decisions.  She honestly believed she would have a heart attack two days later because she said so.  So in they came and took away half of her "life-saving" pills.  She lasted 7 weeks like that.  I admit, it was hard to visit during that time, when she was rapidly declining.  It wasn't my fun-loving, hearty laugh, sun bunny, cocktail Granny.  She had around-the-clock care, and my Dad stayed with her during those last weeks.  She slept often because of the morphine, and I presume the cancer had come back because in the last days she had pain.

I was there on her last day, and for some reason I asked if the priest had been there to give last rites, even though we didn't know when she was going.  She couldn't really talk, only moan.  She was obviously trying to get something out, and was frustrated that she couldn't.  I asked her if she wanted me to sing Janis Joplin, and she made a face and shook her head NO!  So much for that!  She mentioned "Sally," and I asked if she meant Sally Matthews, her long time friend and neighbor, who happened to have passed away 10-15 years ago.  I haven't heard that name in a long time.  I think Sally was there to welcome her.  I also tried to use Reiki to clear the air above her, as it felt so heavy.  It felt lighter, and I also saw a man up by the ceiling with open arms.  I didn't recognize him.  It was not her husband, my Bumpa, and it wasn't her father (I only know from pictures), and no, it wasn't Jesus.  But I do think it was her guardian angel.  I said I loved her and headed to work.  She passed away that night at 10:45pm.

I loved my Granny immensely, and so did so many others.  She will be missed every time I visit her pool, lay in the sun, pass The Avenue, have cocktail hour, and so many other things.

See you on the flip side, Gran!

Peace.  Love.  Serene.