The last voicemail I received from my grandmother was when she read my blog about running into the mountain lion. I tend to call her so when she calls I usually let it go to voicemail just because they are pretty funny. In this voicemail she told me how scared she would have been and was glad that I was so brave and then added, it’s a good thing you don’t have a lot of meat on your bones because when he looked at you he probably realized how much work it would be for such a little reward and didn’t think it was worth his time. She had no problem delivering these lines when I was on the phone either. Two weeks ago I was going to meet a friend to ride on trainers. I called her on her on the way to chat and she asked what I was doing that day, I told her I was going to ride my bike but inside because it was pretty windy and I didn’t want to have to fight with it. Oh that’s good, you don’t need any help falling off your bike.
|One of the many things she taught me.|
I was lying in bed last Wednesday morning contemplating going for a run when my mom called. I swear hospitals have a very distinctive background noise. My grandmother had suffered a massive stroke earlier that morning and was taken to the hospital by ambulance, they were still in the ER waiting to talk to the neurologist but they did know the next 24-48 hours would be critical. She said she’d call again after talking to the doctor. I had a lot of time before going to work and was planning to stay in Boulder that night so packed everything up that I would need for the rest of the day and the next. My mom called again and after getting off the phone I still wasn’t sure if I should go home. I called my dad on the way to work and discussed if I should go home today or wait until my next day off, Sunday. He conferenced my mom in and it only took him a minute before he said “just come home today” which is all it took. He asked me if I wanted to fly home but at that point logistically it seemed too complicated, I just wanted to get on the road. I stopped by work and told them I was taking a sick day and they told me to go and take care of family. I took off, and what should have taken me close to 7 hours took me closer to 5.
I think it helps that a few years ago my grandmother stuck a ‘Children are a Gift from God’ sticker on the back of my car so at least people think I’m a good person when I speed past them. Always looking out for me!
I made it to the hospital while she was still responsive, I held her hand and cried and told her she had really bad timing and that I thought we had talked about Save the Dates after my grandfathers funeral. All my aunts and uncles were there, a few cousins and family friends. We decided around 6 that we’d all stay at the hospital that night, as most of us live about an hour away. Luckily one friend was a physician and was able to realize that she was having longer intervals between each breath. Watching her die was the hardest thing I have ever witnessed and also one of the most profound. It immediately makes you realize how vulnerable you are.
|Need to protect that frontal lobe!|
My grandmother was the last of her generation so a lot of family came to town for it. My cousin kept saying how weird it was that we’re our parents generation now. It is. With so many Irish Catholics it made me feel like I was back in college with all the Mary, Margaret, and Katherine’s. We spent lots of hours pouring over pictures trying to find the right ones that really captured my grandmother’s spirit. On the way to gathering those we found some pretty awesome gems. Frank might be the most smiley man/kid to ever take pictuers. Unfortunately being photogenic did not seem to carry down to Wayne or I. I also found out that as a chid I really liked to wear helmets even when the situation didn’t warrant one.
|Just incase I fall off his lap!|