Monday, December 12, 2011


I can't tell you how many times I have opened the bookmark on my internet browser for Blogger and I stare at the screen and nothing happens. For some reason I go to write, and I can't. Until today. I feel like everything hit me this weekend. And I feel like the emotions that are going on in my heart need to be written out. As therapy? For me? For you? I don't know the reason but I feel ready to write. 

For those of you that don't know, my grandma passed away two and a half weeks ago. Thanksgiving morning. It was the most traumatic, heart wrenching event that I have ever experienced. I lost my grandmother, my confidant, my teacher, and one of my closest friends. 
Life was going on just like normal Wednesday evening. Mom and I had been shopping and preparing for the usual feast that is prepared for our family. Gram and I talked on the phone that evening, discussing the recipe for cheese potatoes and talking about the goodies that we were going to eat the next day. In the midst of the chaos of HEB, I told her that I would talk to her later, and as usual, her parting words were "OK sweetie. I love you. Call me if you need anything." I had no idea that I wouldn't be able to call her anymore after that...

 I got a call at 3 AM from my mom saying that Gram was being taken to the hospital. Dad had already left and she didn't have her truck, so she asked if I could take her. Of course. I got up as fast as I could, and made the drive to my mom's house. On the way, I called my sister because I knew she was spending the night over there, baking with Gram. Her voice, and what she told me made my heart sank. "It's not good ." What does that mean? I could not comprehend the situation and it was all I could do to not speed on the way to the hospital. She told me in detail what had transpired in the past 2 hours, and I was further confused. In the shortened version, basically Gram had symptoms of food poisoning, followed by a severe headache, and then passing out. 
The EMS had informed us that she was stable, and that she would need tests done to figure out what happened. The main troubles that concerned me were the possibility of stroke and heart attack. But I thought to myself, "No, not Grandma. She is healthy, and has had no problems her entire life." I was hoping for the EMS's explanation that she could have possibly triggered a nerve when she was sick at her stomach, and that could account for the passing out.
Mom and I arrived at the hospital and Dad, Grandpa, and Tiff were in the waiting room. We asked if they had heard anything more, and they had not yet. A nurse came in and said that we could come see Gram, and she escorted us through the doors into the ER. I don't quite know what I was expecting to see walking back there, but my heart sank and I felt my knees get weak at the sight. Gram was unconscious, a breathing tube over her face, and while I am thankful to be there during her final hours, this was an image that I cannot get out of my mind. She still looked beautiful, I held her soft hand, and just cried. Completely unaware of what was going to happen, but asking God to take control of the situation and be there to comfort us and give us his peace. The nurse came in and asked if we would like the hospital Chaplin to come and talk with us, that they had one there 24/7 for times like this. Chaplin? Times like what? My mom voiced what was going through my head, we would like to know what is going on?! The nurse replied that she would send in the doctor. 

Massive trauma.
Little chance for recovery.

Those were the words that stood out the most, a midst the doctors conversation with us.
I thought I was going to be sick. In my mind I begged her to come back. Asked God to please give me my grandma back, that we had only scratched the surface with her, that my babies were just settling into a wonderful relationship with her, that I still needed my friend. IT.JUST.WASN'T.TIME.

I returned from the bathroom to hear another doctor discussing with my dad the possibility of surgery. She would be transported to the main hospital in the medical center, where one of my dad's trusted colleagues was going to perform the surgery. We made our way to the medical center, clinging to the smallest little hope that there was something that could be done. We arrived at the hospital and settled into the waiting room  where we assumed that we would be waiting while they performed the surgery. Then the nurses escorted us to another room where she said the doctor needed to have a consultation with us beforehand, to discuss our options. 

I thought the options were discussed? I thought that she was being transported for immediate surgery? Why are we just wasting more time? So many questions. 
The doctor arrived, and he had that look. The look that you see in movies when a doctor is about to tell you some bad news. He continued to tell us that as much as he wanted to help, there was nothing that he could do. That moment I felt my life changing forever. It was time to say goodbye.

She remained on life support for the next 4 hours. 
Her sisters and other two sons were already on their way from Houston, and it was important for them to be able to say goodbye. As I was able to. 
Today, I can tell you that I am thankful that I was able to be there, and hold her hand before she went on, but at the moment, I was terrified. Terrified to take a step into that room by myself. But I knew I needed to. 
I held her soft hand. It was warm. The ventilator humming softly, off and on. Breathing in and out. Looking at her it was almost like she was asleep in her chair again, breathing softly and peacefully. I looked past all the monitors, tubes, and cords, and looked right at my beautiful grandma. I told her that I loved her and I was going to miss her dearly. That her great grand babies would miss her. That her lap was Wyatt's favorite place since he was a baby. That Taylor loved to color with her, and looked forward to all the goodies she would bring her like strawberries, blueberry muffins, and walnuts. I told her that I was so thankful for everything that she taught me, all the memories, and everything I would miss about her. I told her I loved her more than she could know and that she was the biggest blessing to our family.
For the next four hours I was in and out of that room. Comprehending. Processing. Praying. Just trying to understand the finality of it all.
Then it was time. Time for them to "pull the plug" as they call it.
With her family standing around her, they unattached the cords, took out the breathing tube, and we waited. Obviously, not being in this situation before, I did not know what to expect. How quickly does it happen? In the movies they show it happening within seconds. The distinct sound of the flat line. But we heard something entirely different. Beep. Beep. Beep.
 The next 30 minutes my grandma's heart beat on it's own. She had the world's biggest heart, and a heart for her family, and it was evident there on the monitor. As odd as it seems, I stood at the base of her bed, and held her foot. I just looked down at her feet and thought of the many pedicures I had given her as a little girl, and thought of the current day, when Taylor loved to color her nails. Sometimes many different shades on top of each other. :)
Standing at the foot of her bed, those 30 minutes were some of the most agonizing, yet peaceful minutes of my life. I felt God's presence there with us, and I envisioned angels welcoming Grandma to Heaven, and her reuniting with her Mom and family. As the color drained from her face, I knew her soul was on it's way to Heaven. As the warmth left her body, I knew it was just an empty shell. She was rejoicing with Jesus. 
It was not a final goodbye. Merely a see you later.
So. How does it still hurt when I know that she is with Jesus?
How do I feel like there just was not enough time, when the Lord says there is a time for everything.
How do I feel sorrow, when I know that she is in a place that knows no sorrow?
How is it that I feel a peace and contentment after the funeral, but still break down crying a week later, when I pick up the phone to tell her about Wyatt and Tay's latest antics. 
These are the questions that I find myself struggling with on a daily basis. 
In the end I know that God has each of us in the palm of his hands and he will not give us more than we can handle. Still, I am guilty to say that I catch myself saying why. Find myself crying this weekend because Christmas was my favorite time of year, and now I feel as though I am struggling to just keep it together.
Why is it so hard to let go, and let God? And then in my searching I find these verses. 

John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18: For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Light. Momentary. Troubles.
Eternal. Glory. Unseen.

God does not promise that we won't experience heartache. But he does reassure us that they are light, and momentary, and that they are achieving us a greater glory. How neat is that to be able to hold on to. Through the heartache, I am clinging to what is unseen and eternal. Holding on to the Majestic Creator and trusting that one day I will see my grandma soon, and that maybe her story, will help someone else.We don't know when and we don't know how, but I trust in God and I know that is all we need.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11