There’s a Grandma-shaped whole in the world

My grandmother died today.

I don’t really know how to express how it makes me feel. We knew it was coming. I got to say goodbye. There was no chance that she would recover. But yesterday there was a woman occupying space in the world and today there is not.

My mom’s mom passed this spring, which was different. But the same. I couldn’t find the words I needed then, either. I’d like to believe that writing this will be the first step toward moving forward.

My grandmother was not a frail woman. She was a survivor. A fighter. She already beat cancer, but in the end it doesn’t matter. You can be the greatest fighter in the world, but you always lose the last fight.

I remember seeing her in the hospital when it started…
            the dying
                        …and I couldn’t believe how much smaller she looked. It wasn’t right. Lying there in that tiny bed struggling to breathe, fighting to stay awake, wishing for an end to the pain, the fight, the weight of it all. And when they moved her to hospice care, I couldn’t believe it. Not my grandma. She doesn’t give up.

Even when she had the procedure to remove fluid from her lungs and she bounced back, we were all told repeatedly that it was only a matter of time. Her strength returned, and with it came her personality and a small portion of her appetite. She was still tired, though. Oh so tired. But each visit made her face brighter…
            but tired
                        …and her mood lighter. We could almost forget the dark cloud hanging over us all. Almost.

Saturday, it started to rain.

There was a complication. She had options, but none good. The family had a day to say goodbye while she was still lucid and then her medication would be changed to take away the pain. She held on long enough to give us a sense of closure. Selfless to the last.

This morning I was thinking about work. I was thinking about breakfast. I was thinking about my stuff and my problems and my day. I wasn’t thinking about the woman who took me to church camp and let me run wild; who always wanted to hear what I had to say and always made me feel loved and valuable and smart and important; who went out of her way to tell me how much she loved my wife and what an amazing family I have; who reminded me every time I saw her how lucky I was.

And now she’s gone.

It’s not fair and it’s not right and it’s how the world works.

But there’s a hole in it now that will never be filled.

At 8:26 am Central time, the world lost an irreplaceable piece of my heart, and the only way I know how to mark the occasion is to write this stupid little blog post. Because as insignificant as it is, everything else seems less.

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