My sweet Grandma went to Heaven on Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 at 8:38AM. She was surrounded by her family, which is exactly what she wanted. She told us a few weeks ago that she didn’t want to be alone when she passed away. Like she could’ve kept us from holding her hands. : ) My aunt, uncle, and two cousins were in town from Iowa, and they stayed the night with my Grandma Friday night, which I know she loved.
Here is a picture of my Grandma and me on her and my Grandpa’s boat. I think I am about 21 in this picture. She always loved taking us out on the boat. She would let us drink wine coolers mixed with Sprite. Very delicious.
To rewind a little bit, my Grandma told us on Wednesday of last week that she only had one day left. As soon as she said that, we called the Hospice nurse and had her come check my Grandma’s vitals. Her vitals were still pretty strong, so the nurse said my Grandma wasn’t on imminent status yet. I think that made my Grandma sad. She has been talking about Heaven ever since she got her diagnosis (stage 4 liver cancer.) We called all our family and close friends to update them and to let them know what Grandma was thinking. My aunt and uncle from Iowa hopped in their car Thursday morning and got here that evening. By that point, my Grandma was sleeping most of the time. She would wake up occasionally and smile at us or squeeze our hands, but other than that and a few mumbled words here and there, she was resting.
This picture is Jake and my Grandma dancing at our reception. I have a video of them and I have watched it so many times. It’s so sweet.
I stopped by my Grandma’s on Thursday, then went home and just laid on the couch. I was so drained. We were all hoping she would get her wish and go to Heaven soon, but her vitals were still so strong. We didn’t want her to be suffering anymore. I woke up Friday morning and headed to school. My Mom texted me around 8AM saying the care giver had noticed a change in my Grandma’s breathing, which was one of the signs we had been told to look for. My Mom headed over to my Grandma’s house right away and called the Hospice nurse. As soon as I got that text from my Mom, I went into overdrive at school, just in case I needed to leave suddenly. I had just finished making my last copies for teachers about 10:15AM when I got a text from my Dad saying the nurse changed my Grandma’s status to imminent, which could mean she had anywhere from a few hours to a few days. I am so thankful to work with the people I do. I had emailed everyone an update earlier that morning. I couldn’t talk about it or I cried, so they all know what was happening. The second I got my Dad’s text, I said, “I think I need to go”, then immediately started crying. Another one of the learning coaches took all the copies I had just made and said she would deliver them for me, and another one said she would tell my principal. I was out of the building in two minutes.
This picture is from our wedding. My Grandma had made a sassy comment about our booties looking cute, so Brandi snapped this picture. My Grandma was the sassiest, funniest lady. She always had us laughing, even up until she passed away.
I drove straight to my Grandma’s house. As I walked in, she was getting her final communion from our pastor. She was surrounded by my Mom, my aunt, my Dad, my uncle, her brother, and her sister-in-law. I sat down on her hospital bed to hold her hand and tell her how much she meant to me. She kept trying to talk to us, but it was such a struggle. My aunt kept reassuring her that we all knew what she wanted to say – we knew she loved us. That’s all she kept repeating over the last few weeks. She had the biggest heart. From then on, we just took turns loving on my Grandma and talking to her.
This picture is from Christmas last year or the year before. My Grandma always had the best Christmas sweaters.
My cousins got into town early Friday evening. Jake and I picked up pizzas and salad for everyone and then spent the evening at my Grandma’s with all my family. My Grandma was asleep the entire time, but everyone was always at her side. It was really hard to leave her Friday night and I wish I would have stayed the night, but my aunt and cousin slept out next to her, so I know she loved that and was never, ever alone.
I love this picture of my Grandma and Grandpa. My Grandma NEVER dyed her hair. She was very proud of this fact. It stayed a gorgeous black color all of her life. Isn’t she beautiful?
We woke up Saturday morning with plans to run (me) and ride (Jake), before heading back over to my Grandma’s. I had just finished breakfast and was getting dressed to run when my Mom called. She said, “It’s time. We are headed to Grandma’s now. You need to go.” Jake and I jumped in the car and drove over. We walked into her house about 8:45AM and were told she was gone. I immediately felt a sense of peace. She had wanted to be in Heaven since she found out she had cancer. It was a wonderful feeling knowing she wasn’t suffering anymore and that she was with Jesus.
Here’s my Grandma, me, being creepy, and my cutie cousin, Libby – who is getting married next month. <3
While we all felt peace at knowing Grandma was no longer suffering, the real grief sunk in when we realized that meant she was gone. Grief is a strange thing. We mourn as someone is sick and dying, but that mourning changes when they are actually gone. I went from hating watching my Grandma be in that hospital bed every day and begging God to take her, to a heartache of knowing she is no longer here with me.
I love this picture of us from our wedding in May of 2018. My Grandma made everything so fun and memorable. She had this quality about her that just made her this incredible entertainer. She brought laughs and smiles wherever she went.
After Grandma went to Heaven, we all took turns holding her hand and talking to her. As hard as this was, it was such a special moment for my family. While we waited for the funeral home to come get her body, we sat around and shared stories. We laughed, we cried, we sat silently. Watching them wheel my Grandma out of her home was hard. So hard.
This picture is a funny one that is totally staged. This was taken right after my Grandma got her diagnosis. My aunt, Mom, and I had polished off this bottle of wine when all of a sudden, my Grandma grabbed it and told me to take a picture. She said, “Take this picture, Chelsea-Girl. Maybe people will think this is why I have liver cancer!” My Grandma didn’t really drink, so she thought it was ironic that she had liver cancer. See? Always entertaining. <3
I love you, Grandma. Squeeze Grandpa.
This is my brother-in-law, Tyler, and my Grandma a few weeks ago.
My Momma and Grandma. My heart breaks for my Mom right now. I just want to hug her all the time. I cannot imagine losing her, so I cannot imagine what she is going through. She was the most incredible care giver for my Grandma.
My Grandma’s nickname throughout school was, “Honey” – I think it perfectly describes my Grandma.
My Grandma received so many loving letters. We enjoyed being able to read them to her over the last few weeks. She remembered EVERYONE and would always tell us how they met, what that person was up to now, and other random pieces of information. My Grandma was so loved by many, many people. She loved them right back.
She was concentrating on what my uncle was saying on the phone in this picture. HA! I had made a Mexican bake for her and my Mom, so I was feeding it to her one night. She told me it was, “absolute perfection”.
These last pictures are from Thursday and Friday of last week. This was after my Grandma had been given her final communion.
Here is my Grandma with her brother, Larry.
My cousins with my Grandma after they had gotten into town. This was Friday evening.
We played a bunch of different hymns for my Grandma Friday night. She loved music, so I know she enjoyed this.
My Grandma’s funeral will be on Saturday, December 7th. I don’t know specific details yet, but I will share them once I know. I honestly cannot convey to you all how much your prayers, support, and friendship mean to me and my family. We are blessed beyond measure to have you in our lives, so was my Grandma. I know I will think of and miss my Grandma every single day, but each time I get sad, I try to think about one of the happy memories – there are SO many. She blessed everyone’s life – and if you were lucky enough to be loved by her, your life was definitely made a little bit better.
Happy Monday, friends. Hug a loved one today.