I wrote this post on Monday morning but hesitated when it came time to publish it. I wasn't sure I wanted to post and share this or not since it involves my personal life in a way I haven't really posted before. I finally decided that this is where my mind and heart are right now and frankly it feels better to get it out there and off my chest a bit as well.
I received a phone call this morning from my mother telling me that my grandmother is not doing very well and will likely pass away within the next few days or so. Even though she has been in bad shape for a while now it is still a sobering thing to hear. She apparently has had a very hard time breathing and hasn't really eaten anything for the last couple of days. She is also entirely unresponsive and seems unaware of anyone around her. They said she is on morphine to at least keep her comfortable until she does pass. My mother began to cry a little over the phone though quickly recovered; I believe for her and likely my sister the strongest emotions felt will be along the lines of what I expect for myself; sadness and a bit of pain while watching our father grieve. Our sadness and affections will go out for and to him as this will certainly be most difficult for him.
The family itself was never terrible close to my Grandmother, neither emotionally or physically. She has lived up in Manistique, Michigan (upper peninsula) for as long as I can remember and we only went up to visit occasionally. I have very few memories of my grandmother in very good health and even those were not quite in the typical grandparent/grandchild fashion. It was likely just because we did not really ever see her that much and so I never had the chance to grow a real closeness with her.
A few months ago my father, sister, sister's fiance and I made a trip up to see her in the nursing home she was living in. It was pretty hard to see her the way she was but also nice to see her for what we knew would be one of the last times we could. She did not really know who any of us were although she seemed to remember my father. My cousin told us that our father was always my grandmother's favorite child of the three and I always kind of suspected that from how happy she always was to see him; though that also may have been due to how little she got to see him. Overall she was very pleasant and seemed very happy that we were there and she seemed like she knew we were there for her.
My grandmother's life was never an easy one; her husband, my grandfather passed away when my father was 13 leaving her to raise and provide for three children on her own. She never got married and worked for a few decades at the US Postal Service. She has lived a very strong life and was always deeply vested in the Roman Catholic Church. I should hope that if there is a heaven that she will find herself at peace in the place she has prayed for her entire life.
I got the phone call last night and so in about an hour I'm taking the train up to the airport to meet my family. We'll fly out to Detroit and drive up from there and come back next Tuesday. My mother called to let me know which sort of surprised me since all week it had been my father calling and emailing with the updates. I asked how he was and she told me he was crying; his mother just died. It's hard to watch the man you grew up idolizing; who was always a rock and who you still view as one of the strongest and greatest people this world has to offer suffer like this. This weekend will be hard to take but my father will be extremely thankful that we will all be there.