I got a call Saturday morning, December 21st around 9:36 am. My mother called to tell me that her mother, my grandmother, had passed away. She was eighty-one.
Usually, we’d have a nice little Christmas celebration. My mother would go get Granny from the Roosevelt House so she could enjoy a rare day out of the house and see her two daughters, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (now a fifth on the way who will miss out).
I last saw her for Thanksgiving. She didn’t look like she had less than a month to go, although it was clear she wasn’t doing well. Arthritis took over her body, even her jaw and eyes. I cannot imagine the pain she must have been in that final year. She had a brand new scooter that probably had less than a mile on it.
My grandmother was a sweet lady who loved her family and her cat. She had a warm smile and was great to have a chat with. Talking was painful and the sound of her voice changed due to the arthritis. Granny would throw so many treats on the floor, the cat got up to twenty-three pounds at one point. I have Granny’s old flip phone as a hand-me-down and it still has a bunch of photos she took of the cat. She took photos of the TV while she watched the Country Music Awards. Sometimes she hit the button when she didn’t mean to and there’s accidental pictures of nothing. I kept them them all.
We had to put the cat down Thursday because it couldn’t keep food down any longer. By then, the poor thing was three pounds. The cat Thursday, Granny’s funeral a week later. We’re going to plant some of Granny’s funeral home tulips where we buried the cat. Granny is being cremated, and in my opinion we should put the ashes with the cat. We’re taking them to her parents’ burial plot next month. That works.
I had a sinking feeling she wouldn’t make it to Christmas 2020, but I didn’t expect her to miss this one. So if you think the time you have with someone is limited, make it meaningful if only for your own peace of mind. You don’t want that regret to work on your mind. Get as much as you can out of this dumb life, because you have no control over how much suffering you have to endure and you have no idea when it will be over.
And there you have it: that is my last blog of the decade. I didn’t want to end on such a down note but sometimes that’s how it shakes out. December 21 is the first day of the winter solstice. As such, it is the shortest day of the year and from there the days get longer. You could look at that as a bad thing, but I don’t. Each day becomes longer than the last, as if the sun is regaining its’ strength.