I keep having to remind myself…. She’s gone. I woke up multiple times in the middle of the night and each time I had to say “she’s gone” several times. It doesn’t seem real. I watched her breathe her last breaths and still… I expect that she will ‘get better’ and get to come home.
Well, I guess she did… just not in this life.
I find my mind racing with memories and thoughts of her. My Bam Bam, Perky, Bambi, Perkita. My heart breaks every time I think of you. How can this be? I’ve been so fortunate to have such incredible grandparents. But you. You felt like home. I know we never know, even when signs are there. I think back to your birthday just a few months ago, last Christmas. Do I wish I had known it would be your last? When I left your room last Thursday, not really getting to say goodbye (because you were asleep) I wish I had known. I wish I had known Sunday evening when mom asked if I wanted to ride with her and Sharon. I wish I had known.
Did you know I was there? Do you understand and forgive me? Did you know how much I love you and how very much you meant to me? I hope so. When they told me to say goodbye, did you hear me? When all I could get out was “thank you” and I love you… did you know I was thanking you for a lifetime of happiness? Did you know I was thanking you for all you ever were to me and so many others? Thank you is all I could say. Thank you are the only words that felt right.
Are you home now? Even when we believe in heaven and all our Good Lord tells us, it’s hard to remember. There are always what ifs. Are you happy and pain free? Are you young forever and rejoicing? Were you greeted by Paw Paw and your parents? Have you met the babies that mom lost, or Sharon, or even you? Have you met our incredible Jesus? I pray you were no longer afraid. I pray that you hold me close, because I am breaking.
I realized I quit praying like I should have weeks leading up to the night you passed away. I think part of me thought I could delay the inevitable. Maybe part of me didn’t want to give that chance- maybe there would be more days. Maybe you were going to bounce back. I prayed for you Sunday night though. For mercy and healing—in whatever form that may be. I knew, I think… deep down. Subconsciously… it was the end. I sometimes wonder if things do happen for reasons. Was there a reason that your kids were there for Paw Paw, the night he died. All four of your kids… and me? Was there the same reason it happened that way in the early morning hours on Monday… with you? I prayed many times I would be there…and I was.
I keep hoping you will appear to me. Tell me everything is okay. I keep hoping you will come to me in a dream or God will send a sign. I pray that my heart and mind are open to every little thing… in case it was sent by you. I hear all the time how people get those. How maybe they were visited by their loved one or sent a bird to give them a sign. I get angry and hurt sometimes when I don’t see those. When I don’t get those. But I must remember to go on faith. I must hope for the day when you greet me with arms outstretched with the biggest smile on your face, throwing your head back in joyous laughter.
You will never be forgotten. I thank you for loving me the way you did and later, loving Chris as you have. Loving him enough to entrust your service in his hands. I hope… and know… he will do just fine. I thank you for all the fudge and chocolate pies… making garlic bread late at night and smelling up the whole house (which always woke up Paw Paw.) I thank you for grilled cheese sandwiches (even as I drove by during high school)--- no one can make them like you did. I thank you for encouraging me and showing me new things. For making Barbie dresses and outfits for me. For showing me that carrots can regrow, so to speak, by putting the tops in mason jar lids with water. For making mud pies with me and playing, feeding my imagination. For being my biggest fan. For attending every recital, show, play, audition, awards ceremony, and more. For teaching me the Lord’s Prayer and singing You Are My Sunshine. For taking care of me when I was sick, cleaning up my messes. For being the coolest grandmother of all my friends. For being welcoming to anyone who entered. Thank you for begging Paw Paw to keep picking me up after school and keeping me for so long. For watching Young and the Restless while you ironed, reading to me every day, wrapping my feet and hands so tightly in ziplock baggies just so I could play in the melting snow for a few minutes. For reciting “Anna Mae” at bath time, being silly and loving life. Thank you for loving Paw Paw the way you did. I hope my marriage will be half as good as yours was. Thank you for understanding when I made poor decisions or thought I knew better. Thank you for keeping things from mom sometimes (like when I lost my brand new glasses) and for loving me unconditionally. I will remember my weekly sleepovers and Saturday’s at the mall. I will remember your beautiful yard and hunting Easter Eggs in the back. I remember playing hot or cold, dominoes, and go fish. I remember you getting so angry at that dog in Duck Hunt. I will always remember your laugh. Dying your hair and perms. Washing my hair in the kitchen sink. I can remember getting my hair done each Saturday night with foam rolls, using a coffee mug of water and Paw Paw’s comb. I cherish driving to church with mom or Paw Paw… and later me. Thank you for that. Thank you for singing loudly to your country songs, dancing and boot-scootin’, and loving Vince Gill. I will always think of you when I hear “Que Sera, Sera.” I still picture you moving those hands and feet… all the time your moved them. I thank you for the times that mom said no, you said yes. I always loved hearing “Mother!” I thank you for understanding, though probably sadly so, when I grew up and had other things I thought more important than staying the night. I thank you for Christmas and holidays. You were and are Christmas to me. I will remember your persistence and stubbornness. Moving furniture, working in your yard, walking to the store. Your love of animals. I hope you were allowed one final stop to see your kitties before leaving us. Whenever football season is here, I will be sure to root for the Manning boys and I’ll watch some cage fighting, Judge Judy, and Jeopardy in your honor from time to time. I still remember the time we saw that movie with Michael J Fox and we left… did they say a bad word or did they show a bare butt? I will always remember how easily embarrassed you got. It was always so funny. How you told me about Paw Paw getting angry with your hilarious answer to “do you have sex?” and how you thought you could get pregnant by watermelon seeds. I remember the stories about your roller skating and Fair Park and flirting with Paw Paw as you walked by. Thank you for hanging up my ugly artwork, especially the misspelled NOEL sign every Christmas.
It’s so bizarre for someone to be here one moment and the next… not. I don’t understand it. As I sat beside you Monday morning, I kept waiting for you to breathe or move. But you didn’t. It’s so sad that people live these live. Are alive in so many people; in their thoughts and hearts and memories… but they are gone. I know I am not the first to feel this hurt nor am I the only one. I know other people probably have pain far worse than this… but in this moment, I feel alone in my grief. I have cried more than I knew I could and I know I have many more days and moments of this. I will miss seeing your beautiful face and hearing your voice. Never again will I call 278-5643. You aren’t there. You’ve always been there. For 30 years of my life, you’ve been there. What do I do now?
You were an angel on this earth. You were incredible, and undeniably… special. You were special to everyone who met you. You were love.
I have so many regrets. Not seeing you enough. Not doing more. Not having a baby before you left us. I always pictured me having a baby and watching you love and dote on it like you did me. I am sorry I was unable to give you that. But it’s easy to do that when you know you will never see that person again. Not in this life, in this world, anyways.
I’m sorry the last few years were so painful for you. Both physically and mentally. I know you have forgiven those who hurt you and your heart was pure and ready for our great God. I pray others can learn to do the same. I hope one day, people who have caused hurt and harm will realize their mistakes. Realize their hurts, and seek forgiveness. I hope they too, can ask forgive. I hope they know you are with them and love them all the same. I hope they chase after God and find the answers they need.
Logically, I always knew this day would come. But I still don’t believe it. I still can’t understand why you are gone. I still can’t fathom not having you here. To call just to check in, to stop by for a glass of tea. To celebrate Christmas with. To share in my joys. I will always look for you, even though I know you are not here.
I will miss you, with my whole heart and my whole soul. I love you Bam Bam.