nothing. all of my words lost. the screen stared it's white face at me. i wanted to punch it. hard.
i began to cry. the song playing now, in the garden, a fave of gram's is looping over and over and self-pity starts to take over my tired body and i feel my shoulders fall. defeat was settling in. then, something happened. i thought of her. what would i do if she were in the room with me right now?
so, i began again except now, instead of sobbing... i began to laugh. the good, cleansing kind. she would want me to.
if my gram were with me in this room right now, she would look at me and say something like, "oh, shit!" and then burst into hysterics. she would. and i would laugh right along with her and then start over again but not before eating a tomato sandwich on toasted bread with a dash of salt. she would insist on extra butter and a scoop of ice cream for dessert. she would feed her dog something from her plate and just laugh at something on tv. if the Love Connection were still being aired, it would be that she would be laughing at.
the last few weeks, in between little stretches of sleep, i have been writing about the day i pushed new life into this world and celebrating our new baby girl, ivy. i was forced to switch gears and observe a different kind of life event. just as important as birth, but not as happy or fun an occasion.
two nights ago, my dear, dear beautiful grandmother died.
we knew it was coming, but i still wasn't prepared. she lived months longer than expected and i kept thinking that maybe they were wrong. maybe she would live longer. maybe she was an exception.
she's gone. i am so sad.
i am feeling desperate to talk to her just one more time...to tell her i love her. to hold her hand just one more time.
do you want me to bring you over some plums? where do you want to today? anywhere you want. the casino? mars? venus? you name it. i'll take you there.
it's not fair and yet it is because losing grandparents is a normal occurrence, but i'm missing her so much. i want her here with me or a phone call away. i don't want to fly into detroit knowing that i won't be seeing her the next day. i. want. her. back.
only a month ago, i sat on my hospital bed as i dialed her number, "it's a girl, grandma! it's a girl."
she cooed over the line in her most sweet and soft voice, "awwwww. it is. it's a girl! what's her name?" i could hear the smile in her voice and i was so grateful for the moment. "promise me that you will bring her here to see me. promise."
"I promise, grandma. I'll be there for sure."
we celebrated the little girl that surprised us with her life...surely, ivy will meet her great-grandmother. everything was perfect. i knew that when ivy was a month old, i would take a solo trip to see my gram. maybe ivy's youth and love could heal her in some way. irrational? maybe but i was holding onto that. why not hope? i love to hope.
the night before she died, jeff reserved me a ticket. one night. we were so close and my heart is broken. she wanted to meet ivy and she never will and the finality of that is...sad. so sad.
my uncle called me two mornings ago, all i heard was sobbing. "she's gone, heidi. she's gone."
it took my breath away. i would never get to speak to her again. hear her say, "hi, heidi" when i called her. it was over. everything seemed quieter to me after that or maybe the grief grew louder. it's as if things were moving in slow motion. death is bizarre like that, i think.
he asked me to make calls for him.
so, i made myself snap out of the fog long enough to listen to direction. that morning, i slowly called my mom to tell her that her mother was gone. i could tell that my phone call had woken her, but i was crying and i knew that i had to tell her quickly.
after i said the words, i listened as my mom tried to process what i just said. i heartbreakingly listened to her ask me question after question. questions, i couldn't answer.
sadness swept over me as i heard her try to accept that i was speaking of her mother. i had to repeat myself four times before she grew completely silent. my mom shares my gram's heart. she is unassuming and sweet and her soft early morning voice sounded desperate.
i knew that she would then have to call her own siblings and share with them the news. i wanted to take her pain away.
in a weird way, that phone call was sacred. i'll never forget it and i'll always be proud of my mom for that day. torn between grieving for her mother and protecting her own me.
death is so weird but the value of it is in the perspective one gains from it, i guess.
life is precious and the death of a loved one reminds us of that.
it should remind us to ignore the small stuff and focus on the big, important things like love, happiness, and laughter.
it reminds me that life, each and everyday is a gift...a gift to be respected and cared for. it's worth it to make an effort to live each day doing something we love to be doing. something small or something big, but something.
we should tell the people we love...we love them.
why do so many wait? call someone you love and say it...I LOVE YOU.
we should call our parents, grandparents, friends and offer to be there for when they need us even if they already know that we are there. remind the people that we love and care about, i'm here for you. i care about you. i think about you.
colleen mae irvine.
an amazing and unassuming woman.
she had four kids and a bunch of grand kids that loved her dearly.
the woman who helped me develop, at an early age, a love for soup in a coffee cup and mustard and cheese sandwiches.
i grew out of those things, but ill never forget the effort she put into making sleepovers at her house special.
her sometimes inappropriate and blunt sense of humor made her one of the funniest people i have ever known. seriously, the woman was witty. she didn't know how funny she was or how FUN she was to be around. there was not one moment that i spent with her that i did not enjoy. i mean that so genuinely. not one moment lost.
she was sensitive and passed down her talent for crying at movies and commercials at the drop of a dime to the rest of the girls in the family. and the movie, Imitation of Life...her fave. she always told us about how the end of that movie made her sob like a baby...and i can attest to that. we've watched it together several times just to torture ourselves.
she adored animals and she liked chocolate and all fruit and could often be found skipping meals to indulge in those things. she never left the house without her lipstick and she always smelled like estee lauder perfume and ponds cold cream.
she's always been there for us...for me. from first love to first heartache. new babies and getting old. there has never been one moment in my life that i havent felt that i couldn't talk to her about sanyting. it didn't matter. i could say what i wanted and her gift to me several times has been making me feel like everything is going to be okay.
there is not much more valuable than that, peace of mind, to a scared teenage or new wife, or new mom. she was there for all of it. if i came to her with an issue, she had a knack for saying something simple, but true and then throwing in a joke and a laugh for good measure.
that was all she would do, and i would feel better. she made anything less of a big deal. after speaking to her, i knew all would be okay. i just knew. if gram was laughing about it or blowing it off...it was okay.
she was unconditional. unconditional.
my last baby will never meet one of the most important women in my life, but she will know that grandma loved her so much anyway.
gram felt the baby mover here.
i will tell her that grandma and i celebrated her and that gram really wanted me to have a girl;)
ill show her this photo, that a week before she died, gram did get to 'meet' her. (via instagram)
i will never let my babies forget their great-grandma's loving heart.
they will learn unconditional love because of the way she loved me...all of us.
as i sit here writing these words and digging up photos, i'm overwhelmed by both sadness and gratitude.
i am so grateful that i had this woman in my life for as long as i did.
i hope she knows how much i adored her. that is my one hope. i think she did.
she's been here for a very long time. we are all going to miss her so much.
my mom, aunt and uncles are hurting so deeply right now. i hope they know how much gram loved them and how i know that gram will live on in them and we are all so lucky to have them in our lives. it's a time for grieving and healing. things will be good again.
gram, i miss you.
i miss your face.
i miss your jokes, your laughter and your kindness but you will always live in my heart.
thank you for being your lovely self. thank you for always laughing even when things weren't fun...oh and gram, thank you for always drinking a beer for heather and i due to our pressuring you. you did it to make us laugh and we knew you really wanted the beer;)
bottom's up, gram. we love you so so much. i love you, gram.