RIP Grandma

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My Grandma, Mary, died Tuesday morning in her sleep, peacefully at home, just as she wanted. She was 92 and 1/2 years old. If you read my blog, you know that I was with her when she had a massive heart attack a couple weeks ago and that I had to work with EMTs to get her life flighted to a capable hospital an hour away.

She surprised us all by surviving the heart attack in the first place. My Grandpa is the one everyone has been concerned about. No one expected her to have the massive heart attack. But, we were shocked to learn that her main artery was almost 100% blocked. She suffered damage to her mitral valve and it allowed fluid to leak up into her lungs. Her kidneys were also damaged and so were unable to help get the fluid off her lungs. We were told she wouldn’t last too long after the heart attack, but you just never know, and she surprised my mother with her strength for a few days even when she came home from the hospital on hospice. In the end however, the damage to her heart was just too great, and she didn’t make it.

IMG_4179My grandma was born in rural North Eastern Arkansas in 1920, the 7th of 8 children. I have fond memories of two of her sisters, Velva and Gladys, and one of her brothers, Edgar. We used to visit them from time to time, in their childhood home of NE Arkansas. And Edgar visited my family in Europe when I was a child.

My grandma, at not quite 5′ tall, was a force to be reckoned with. When I was 14, I accidentally backed their car into a ditch and got it stuck. I’m not sure why I had been allowed to drive that car in the first place, but I think it was my grandpa’s attempt to teach me drive {and possibly cheer up a melancholy child, mad at her parents for yanking her out of Europe for a life in Central Missouri}. 🙂 My grandma wasn’t very happy about me putting the car in the ditch and chased me off with a fly swatter. I learned that a short lady, when properly provoked, could be quite fast! I still giggle when I think of her chasing me with fly swatter in hand. I’m glad I’m a lot taller and faster and I’m lucky I got away! 🙂

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This is a picture of my grandma (in the middle) with my mother and my sister. She, and my grandpa, and my Great Uncle Edgar came to visit us when we lived in Germany when I was a little girl. We drove with them to Italy and these are a couple of pictures from our trip. Here, she’s holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 🙂 I don’t remember a lot about that trip, but I remember the winding, crooked path up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I went back there when I was a college and was sad to learn that people aren’t able to climb it any longer.

IMG_4182And here we are in a gondola in Venice. I’m little blond girl with the bangs. All I remember about Venice are thousands and thousands of pigeons.

Grandma went to college in the 1950s without a high school diploma or GED and went on to become a college educated elementary school teacher. She was the only one in her family (siblings, nieces, and nephews) to earn a college degree. She never thought she would visit Europe, either. From meager beginnings in rural Arkansas, she accomplished much more than a lot of people accomplish even today. My grandpa told me today that she was his rock. She balanced the check book. She did the laundry. She cooked the food. She kept the family calendar. He’s not sure how he will go on and it broke my heart.

If you’re wondering at all why I’ve been quiet the last few weeks, this is why. I have been grieving. Hopefully, I can move on now. I need to. February was really an awful month for me. I’m glad it’s March now, and I’m looking forward to the promise of a new month. Her funeral is Wednesday, in Pocahontas, Arkansas. Hopefully I’ll be back in full force when I finally make it home.

RIP, Grandma. I love and miss you. I’m so glad I had a grandmother for as many years as I did.

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Comments

  1. So sorry to hear this news. Prayers coming your way. Your Grandma sounds like she lived her life to the fullest & that's what can be remembered about her. It also sounds like you have a lot of her in you.
  2. I am so sorry for your loss! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Treasure those memories.
  3. Lots of Hugs and prayers to you and your family and what a wonderful tribute to your grandma.. Loved reading it and the memories you have of her are amazing. She seemed like she was a wonderful and beautiful women, you sure can be proud to call her grandma. ((HUGS))
  4. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Your grandmother sounds like she was a wonderful woman, and she certainly had a positive effect on your life. You are blessed to have had so much time with her. My grandmother passed away a few months ago, also in her nineties, so I feel your grief. Just keep remembering the wonderful times you had with her. Sending you a huge virtual Hug! Holly
  5. Love to you Friend. She sounds like she had a wonderful life. I'm so glad you had so long with her. Strength to your Grandpa. Love you, A
  6. What a great tribute to your grandma! She obviously was a wonderful and strong woman and loved by all. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.
  7. Thank you for posting about your grandmother. Bloggers (myself included) are accustomed to posting about the busyness of our lives and not so much about our loved ones, or at least not anything heartfelt.

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