Grandma left us a year ago today.

There's an achy little place in my heart for her...

I was reading back to things I wrote about her a year ago:

We hung on her every word. Anytime she’d talk or even gesture, we’d all lean in and listen closely, trying not to miss a thing. When I’d come into the room carrying Jace, she’d watch us and point at him. I once asked her if she wanted to squeeze him, thinking she’d hold his arm or leg, but she wanted to hold him. She held him close to her and I warned that he might spit up on her. She whispered in his ear, “You’d better not!” It was so precious. I had to hold back the tears until I got in the car. She doesn’t like us to be tearful because crying makes her cough and often throw up.

Another favorite moment was today after church. Grandpa had gone to church with some family while my mom and I stayed home with Grandma. When Grandpa came home he said, “Hello my love” and she responded, “Hello dear.” He sat next to her and she reached for his hand. She was rubbing his hand with her thumb and he just sat there staring at her. I cant even imagine how hard it is for him to see his sweet, beautiful bride suffering like she is. She’s just not even the same person. Only occasionally did she say or do familiar things. We all sang one morning and didn’t get any response from her but Uncle Jordan put on a wig and she almost smiled! Almost!And she did ask little Jesse Gordon, “Well Jesse, what shall we do?” He smiled and said “I don’t really know, Grandma!”

We all sat outside their house and watched the 24th of July Pioneer Parade going down Church Street on Saturday. Grandma had us put her into the wheelchair and roll her onto the porch so she could watch the parade and smell the rain. (I was so happy to wake up to rain again this morning!)

And then the moment came on Sunday afternoon for me to go home. I put it off several hours. How could I hug her knowing for sure it was the last time? How could I leave that house, knowing she wouldn’t be there the next time I go? Cohen made the decision for me. He put his head on my shoulder and said, “I want to go home, Mommy.” He’s never wanted to go home from Grandma’s house before. So I decided that was the moment. I took him with me for support. He kissed her with his sticky cherry sucker lips. She licked her lips and told him that was a yummy kiss and he smiled. I knelt in front of her and put my arms around her. I felt the familiar softness of her cheek on my cheek. I inhaled her familiar sweet smell. I kissed her cheek and hand and then I left, without saying a word. Words would have meant tears and tears make her cough. So I saved the tears for the slow drive out of town.

My extended family got together last week to go to Wicked... and then a bridal shower for a cousin... and then to Thatcher for the mission homecoming of another cousin. It was lovely to be together and talk about the year we've had. My dear Aunt Nona gave each of us an envelope that held a picture of my Grandparents, a paper Grandma had jotted something on, and a love letter my Grandpa had written to Grandma during their engagement. These were not copies. We each got an actual love letter and an actual scrap paper she had written on. What a treasure! I loved to see her handwriting and to read her thoughts.

I sure miss her.


stephanie said...

so beautifully written, jill. i remember reading it last year, and it was just as powerful this year. what a special relationship you have with her.

lisa said...

I always leave our Udall family functions feeling so grateful and full of love for all of you. This one was not an exeption. I loved what you wrote. I too am grateful for the little treasure.