Friday, March 22, 2013

Making Adjustments...

I looked at the clock tonight shortly before 9:00 and realized that two weeks ago, I was sitting beside my grandmother, watching her take the last breaths of her life and drift away from us forever.  Tonight, I was sitting beside my great-niece, Zola, watching her drift sweetly off to Dreamland... and hopefully a long night of restful slumber.  The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity... planning and preparing for the funeral, acknowledging those who helped with everything from the pre-service meal to the pastors and funeral directors, those who sent flowers and those who have generously given to charities in memory of my grandmother.

My grandmother's apartment had to be cleared and the few items we didn't donate to charity had to be sorted and stored.  There were dishes to return, forms to sign, and things to catch up on at home... like laundry and housekeeping that had been put off far too long.

During all of this, I assured Timothy and Zola that when I rested, they could come for a visit.  A few days ago, we had the one and only "warm" day of this week, and my husband and I set aside everything else to go grab the kids and spend an hour at a local park playground.  Timothy ran to me, arms open wide.  As I scooped him up and hugged him, he gently patted me and asked, "Aunt Debbie... have you rested?"  I told him yes, I have rested, and he can come soon for a visit.

So Zola is here tonight for HER visit... Timothy comes tomorrow for a night, and we will all go to church together on Sunday.  As I sat down to one of the first "real" suppers I've cooked in a while last night, I said to my husband, "I keep thinking I need to go to Southridge and check on Mam-ma."  Then I remember... she is no longer there.  I have no idea how long this will go on... when I will truly realize that things have changed.  I just know that tonight, I reminded myself that it's only been two weeks.  After almost 56 years of having my grandmother as a constant in my life - and the last eleven as her primary caregiver and guardian - it's bound to be an adjustment.

I find myself still experiencing moments of feeling "bleh" - not necessarily sad, but just dull and a little numb.  Toddlers are great for that!  They have a way of jerking you right out of your vacant reverie and back to reality!  And that is a good thing.  Timothy's mother allowed him to attend Mam-ma's funeral, and having him there was a great comfort to me.  Even though he is not quite four, he had a perspective on death that we could all take to heart.

During the visitation, Timothy played throughout the church sanctuary.  Mam-ma's casket sat atop a "gurney" type table on rollers.  As visitors paraded by to speak to me, Timothy came with arms up for me to hold him.  I scooped him up, and he looked down into the casket.  "Mam-ma's dead!" he exclaimed.  "We're gonna roll her up to heaven to be with Jesus... He's a really nice guy!"  Then he was off to run and play again.  At the cemetery, he sat in my lap and said, "We can't leave Mam-ma in that box very long."  Both pastors who officiated are dear family friends, and one of them gently explained to Timothy that Mam-ma is in heaven...she's not really in that box.  Honestly, I don't know what all she said to him, but he accepted it readily.  On the ride to the cemetery, Timothy had declared again that "Mam-ma is dead!"  My mom said, "Yes, she is in heaven... and we are glad."  Timmy replied, "I'm not glad!  Well, I'm a little glad.

We could learn a lot from a four-year-old.  I'm sure my grandmother would be greatly pleased by his comments and "take" on her passing.  She was so ready for heaven, so I am glad she is finally there. And I know how worried she was about her great-great-grandchildren.  So as I tucked Zola in tonight, I thought of how pleased Mam-ma would be to know that I was rocking her to sleep... and continuing her legacy of love and devotion to others - especially our family and this new generation of little ones.


Amber said...

Thank you for sharing these last six years of your sweet grandmothers’ life with me. I came upon your blog by chance today and spent the last several hours reading all your posts from the beginning. I was looking for someone who was like me – “sandwiched” between two vastly different age groups but both needing my care. I am a mother of three young boys and the caregiver of my 90 year old grandmother. I wanted to let you know that you have given me insight and understanding. You made me laugh and helped me to feel not so alone. Mam-ma Polly was a special lady and she will be missed.

Debbie Robus said...

Amber... thank you SO MUCH for these comments. I am thrilled to think that my posts have helped you, and I do hope you will fill free to visit this blog often... AND comment (use the link on the left) and let me know how things are going. You are NOT alone... and that's why I created this blog. This is a lonely journey for many of us, and it doesn't have to be. Thanks again for your comments... and for reading!

Family Fandango said...

This is very sweet, thank you for sharing. My boy was 5 when my father passed away last year. At times it was really difficult because he'd see me crying and think it was kind of funny. But I remember him saying the same thing about Jesus "Mama, did you know he can walk on water? That Jesus sounds like a pretty cool guy!" :)