Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Charlotte Gilman Wick

Monday was hard but Tuesday was harder.

We got to WI Sunday evening - no problems with flights thank goodness! (Usually there is some kind of delay getting in or out of the small airport near my parents house) It made me so sad knowing that I was flying home and wouldn't get to hear my Grams give me a hug and say "Hi Hon" like she's always done for the years I've been gone.

She's spent her life waiting for people to come back to her - her husband (who worked on the road while she raised 4 children) Her sons (who all went off to war and couldn't stay put when they finally came back home) and her grandchildren (who scattered across the country for love or jobs or both). The only constant in her life was my mom. Day in and day out through the good and the bad, through frustration and tears - my mom was her rock and she was my mom's. My mom was there with her when she died. She saw the fear in her eyes and held her hand as her breathing stopped and her pulse faded.

My grandma was stubborn, from a very long line of stubborn. She was old and it was hard for her to do most things but she wanted to be at "home" until the end and she was. She died at home surrounded by her favorite things in her favorite rocking chair. If there was ever anything that My grandma did it was rock. My mom had to keep a rocking chair in her living room because that was the only place Grams would sit.

She spent the day with her last brother on the Sunday before she died. She made him potato pancakes and they played cards. And most likely sat in her living room watching the weather channel for an hour at least.

Monday was the visitation at the funeral home. For me it was like torture. I don't do public grief very well. I just wanted everyone to go away and stop talking so I could stand next to her and cry. I know it seems strange - she was my grandmother, not my mom after all - but she was so much more than a grandmother. I spent a huge portion of my childhood with her. She lived with us until I was 6 yrs old. (She moved out because my mom got pregnant again! That's just how she was...) So every early memory of mine has her in it too.

I haven't been to a funeral since Ellie's - not that this was in any way similar, but the raw emotions were still there. And like I said - public grief just isn't my thing. I wish I could have just sat in that room with her for hours - just the two of us. So I mostly stood mute while everyone else mingled. I tend to be mostly anti-social in a mostly social family. My Mom was a champ - keeping her brothers in line (not at all an easy task for two men who hadn't spoken since 1989 at another funeral) and greeting everyone who came.

Tuesday was the funeral. Everything was well thought out and executed - but it was still a funeral. It was more of the same.

But now comes the even harder part. The days that stretch out before you without someone you love. For me it will be easier. She wasn't a part of my daily landscape. I will go home and slip back into my life with another hole in my heart. But for my mom - the entire landscape of her life will have changed. I remember how hard that was to adjust to. For now she will be busy. Her brothers will both be here for the next few weeks to help her get everything taken care of (not that either one is really that much help...) and she will be busy dismantling a life. But after the tasks are completed and the to do list is done. She will have to deal with the quiet that follows. I dread that for her.

5 comments:

Michele said...

Oh Donna... My heart broke for your reading the post. I dont know what I'd do if my only surviving grandma died. We've always been close. I know it would take a huge chunk of my heart, even though I also know she has children and grandchildren waiting to greet her.

And your mom... I am saying an extra prayer for her. I, too, feel for her on the day when everyone is gone and it is quiet. That will be the toughest...

AKD said...

I am just so sorry, Donna. As you know, there really aren't words to express our sympathy - but please know that we're thinking of and praying for you.

Just Breathe said...

My grandparents are all gone and it's hard when they leave us. Grandparents can be a very special part in our lives, they love us in a very special way. I'm so sorry.

Funsize said...

No words, just sympathies and condolences for you and your family.

Bluebird said...

I relate to so much of this. . .

The grandmother who was more than a grandmother. . .

The mom who was her rock (and vice versa). . .

The not doing public grief well. . .

All of it. It broke my heart to read this post. I am so, so sorry for what you and you family are going through and will continue to go through. ((Hugs)) my dear.