Tag Archives: chapters

Reflections

22 Jul

ImageMy journey with Grandma has come to an end……On July 12th around 7:30 in the evening, Grandma took her final breath here in this world.  I’m not sad for her…..but I am sad for me.  This last two years my life has revolved around her….visiting her on a daily basis…feeding her lunch or supper (depending on the day)…spending Friday and Saturday evenings with her….going to church with her at the nursing home on Sunday mornings and then feeding her lunch….decorating her room for holidays and new seasons…..taking her to activities…..watching her sleep…..seeing her sparkly blue eyes light up when I would walk into the room…..laughing as Grandma would crack me up with some random remark…..holding her hands….rubbing her feet….putting lotion on her…..giving her manicures…..bringing her treats…….praying with her…..  Sooooooo many memories and I’m grateful for each one.

I’m so glad I made the decision two years ago to move from Michigan to Knoxville, TN.  I was the assistant to our wellness director at the YMCA in Muskegon, Michigan, and was going to be hired as the director in the next few months….I took a leave of absence for one month and while I was checking things out in Knoxville, I interviewed with a Y and was given the chance to teach Zumba once a week.  That was enough to know that I was supposed to move….my career as a director was put on hold and I quit working 40+ hours per week and started over with just one class per week.  Scary?  Yes! But knew that everything would work out and that Grandma was my mission and my purpose in life at the time.

For two precious years I was able to be with her on a daily basis…I find it interesting that she was my caregiver the first two years of my life (my Mom worked full time when I was born so Grandma was my babysitter) and I was her caregiver the last two years of her life.  And, I wasn’t ready for her to leave just yet….thought I had more time….I spent time with her on Wednesday, July 4th and then I left on Thursday for a few days…went to Delaware to celebrate a wedding.  I got back to the nursing home on Tuesday, July 10th and walked in Grandma’s room to see her on oxygen and not looking well.  I just thought her O2 levels were low and the oxygen would make her all better.  I spent time with her and then had classes to teach.  Wednesday morning, the nursing home called to let us know that Grandma was not doing well and probably would not be with us longer than a few days.  I finished teaching my morning classes and hurriedly showered to get there.  I walked in and knew that she would not rally back for us this time….I called my Mom and told her she needed to get on a plane or get in the car and start driving.

Grandma was not left alone until 6 p.m. on Thursday…..people came to hug on her and love on her.  I stayed by her side until 6:00 Thursday morning….had precious alone time with her and sang her favorite songs and then reminded her of all the things we did together – assured her that she was the best grandmother and that she had done a great job.  She would hear my voice and focus in on me for a moment – or if I got up and did something, she would become alert again before fading out.  I gave her many kisses and just loved, loved, loved on her.  My boyfriend, Jeff, arrived around 1 in the morning and stayed with me until my parents arrived at 5 a.m.  Mom stayed with her while we all left to get a little sleep. We all came back and spent most of Thursday with her – I decided to go ahead and teach one class – my parents and uncle went to get a bite to eat….and while we were all gone, Grandma took her final breath.  I really believe she wanted to protect us from seeing her leave us.

Grandma was 85 and would have turned 86 on the 25th of this month.  She lived a full life and made many memories with all of us.  She showered us with love – prayed for us – bragged on us – gave of her time, energy, and money – she never missed a birthday or special occasion – she was a classy lady who dressed like a queen.  She loved  wearing White Diamonds and her clothes still smell like it.  She carried beautiful embroidered handkerchiefs and loved her angel brooches.

Her life was celebrated and remembered by the many people who came to the visitation and funeral.  She was surrounded by pink, her favorite color.  The flowers that arrived were simply breathtaking and would have made her so happy.  One thing she would have been upset with is her thumbnail was snagged and not filed….she would not have liked that!!! 🙂  Her nails were always manicured. I didn’t wear black….i wore ivory and rose because that is what Grandma would have wanted.  And my sister and I sang at her service…something else Grandma would have wanted.

Now we begin the process of continuing life without her being in our daily lives and routines – that is a little unsettling because there will be no more Grandma’s house to go to….and as we all know, there’s no one like Grandma 🙂 My daily routine will seem empty and void for a while….my family has been here so it’s not settled in, yet…and I know I have more tears to cry.  However, the last two years of my life have been filled with so much love and joy and all the moments are priceless.  I’m honored that I was able to have that time with her. Life is short and we never know when we will have to say goodbye to a loved one….that’s why it’s important to focus on what matters and what will last.

Goodbye, my sweet grandmother…..until we meet in Heaven…..

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Chapters in life

6 Jun

Last evening, one chapter ended in the life of a very important young lady in my life.  She was part of the class of 2012 and received her diploma for completing high school and will move into the next phase of her life as she enters college in the fall.

Eleighna Chanel is the reason number one that I am an auntie.  She was born on July 12, 1994 and from the moment I saw her being born I was totally in love with this oldest niece of mine.

Because of circumstances, she and her mommy lived with my parents and I; and we were totally taken in with this precious gift sent from Heaven.  Yes, we doted on her and spoiled her and held her all the time and I’m sooooo glad we did because the moments just pass too quickly.

Memory after memory was made with this baby, toddler, little girl, young lady…..

I would wake up in the morning and could look through my door into her room and see her wake up and get a big smile on her face and we would point at each other and she would start giggling.  “I love you more”…. “No, i love YOU more!!!” These statements would be exchanged as she started talking.

Bath time, play time, reading time, trips to the park, trips to great grandma’s house in TN, Disney World, campground, family vacations to Prince Edward Island, etc.

Her first day of Kindergarten, the entire family went with her and escorted her to her room.  Lots of pictures were taken.  It was hard to believe she was already five years old.

During her time in elementary school, I volunteered in her class a few times – went on a field trip or two – was able to take her to school many, many times.  When I would drop her off, I would tell her that she was a princess and that I loved her but Jesus loved her more.  We would say a prayer and prepare her for the day.

She moved to New York for her middle school years; and the day she, her mom & her sister left town, I thought my heart would break it hurt so bad. Lots of trips both ways were made during those few years….

They moved back the summer before Eleighna entered high school…..and as glad I was to have them close again, I was concerned because I knew she would have to adapt to a new school, making new friends, and all the craziness of being a 9th grader.

And….then…..graduation.

I know she will handle the challenges of life just fine because she’s already had to face challenges and difficulties.  Challenges and difficulties I wish I could have sheltered her from.  She faced and dealt with some hurts, sorrows, and disappointments that she should have never had to deal with but because of other people’s choices it left her with consequences.

Not once did she complain or express anger. She would just say, “I’m used to it.”

This oldest niece of mine is kind, compassionate, tender-hearted, strong in her convictions/beliefs, musically talented, loyal, dedicated, sensitive, quiet, introspective, non-demanding, loving and sweet.  I’m so proud of her and being her aunt is a privilege and a blessing.

I hope that the memories she has of the chapters in her life so far will be great ones to reflect on.  I pray that she will remember the good more than the bad.  I hope that the love from her family will be a strong foundation that keeps her grounded the rest of her life….that she will remember the object lesson from her school superintendent at her commencement last night about having a foundation and then adding passion to that foundation and a lifelong love of learning.

It has been my privilege to watch and be part of this chapter in her life.  I’m so grateful for the day she was born into our family….our lives have been much better because of her.  It truly is an honor to be her aunt!

Congratulations, Eleighna, on completing this chapter!  I love you!