My last living grandparent passed away today.
This wasn’t a surprise. My family knew this was coming; we just didn’t know when. She turned 90 years old back in October (any potential celebration destroyed by COVIDstances) and had a health scare back in November.
Her mental (and inevitably her physical health) had been failing for some time, and her last few years were spent in a nursing facility after being hospitalized by a fall she couldn’t remember. It was so difficult to watch her decline every time my wife and I went to visit her. My last memory of her being lucid was during that hospital visit after her fall (I was not expecting the lucidity); otherwise, we got stuck in conversation loops that I never really knew how to handle.
When I got the news of her passing, I didn’t feel anything specific. Maybe it’s because last year has left so many of us feeling emotionally drained in some ways. Or maybe it’s because I’d already come to terms with her being gone and had expected the news some time ago. When she did have that health scare, I had felt some bit of anxiousness (Is it COVID? Will she make it?), but hearing she was gone didn’t phase me at first. It wasn’t until I was writing out about not feeling anything that I did begin to feel some sort of sadness and cry some tears. Perhaps in writing it out there was some catharsis or realization of the reality that she’s gone.
The last time I saw her was last February, just before COVID sent everyone and everything into a spiral. I had decided to visit her because a dream I’d had that week about her passing away. It woke me up feeling panicky. I don’t remember the details of the dream, other than that specific thing. I don’t know why I had that dream. I kinda waited to see if anything might’ve happened in the real world, but I never heard any news, which was somewhat of a relief. I had thought of mentioning the dream to my family when I mentioned going to visit, but I had only told it to my wife. The dream itself was enough to shake me, but not worrying enough to bring up to my family. Maybe I should’ve. Would they have gone with me because of a dream? Would I have if someone else had that dream? I don’t know. None of us knew the months ahead would become what they did. Even though there was no news and it was just a dream, I still wanted to go see her. Given her state of health, I didn’t know if I might get another chance.
And I was right. I’m thankful I made that trip.
Grandma, you will be missed.