Family.

It’s that time of year, visiting family and friends for the holidays. My family back home doesn’t do holidays. Except for Thanksgiving.

We can’t make it this year. We had a lot of financial stuff come up, and we just can’t swing it.

I always want to be with my parents for Thanksgiving. Always. Especially since my grandmother died in 2006.

My dad and I left the day after Thanksgiving. My husband was deployed, and I went home for the holiday. My grandmother had kidney and lung cancer, and was under hospice care in a nursing home.

I vividly remember going to visit her. She was tall, nearly 6ft. The bed she was in was slightly too small, her feet were propped on a pillow so they wouldn’t hit the foot board. She was eating lunch when we came in. Rather, the hospice nurse was attempting to feed her lunch. She saw me, knew who I was, and looked embarrassed. She just kept shaking her head and trying to pull up the blankets. We stayed a little while. I held her hand and talked to her.

My dad and I went to her home. My dad had been keeping it up since she’d gone in the nursing home. I cooked chili dogs on her gas stove for dinner. We ate, and headed back to see my grandma. On the way there, my mother called me. My uncle had been trying to get a hold of my dad. The nursing home called him and told him my grandmother had taken a turn for the worse, and they were only giving her several hours to live.

We went back to her room, and a nurse spoke to us. I have no idea what she said. We went into her room, and I sat in a chair next to her bed, and held her hand. My uncle watched CSI Miami on the TV in her room. My dad kept stroking her hair and whispering to her. My aunt called. I don’t know how many hours we were in there. I remember the CSI Miami episodes starting to repeat themselves. I just held her hand and tried to stay awake. Her breathing was terrible.

Just after midnight, it stopped. I just sat there. My uncle kept trying to shut her eye lids. We left, went back to her place. My dad drank a beer. I went to bed. We went back to my parents’ a few days later, I went back home. I couldn’t face her funeral, and I didn’t go. I regret that now.

I miss her every day. I think of what a kick she would have gotten out of R. I think about the New Year’s Day that she called me at 7am to make sure I was awake, or the Easter she called to tell me I was a heathen (joking)  for not being in church. I miss her so much.

Part of the reason I like going home for Thanksgiving is to be with my dad. We were there when she died, we talk a little about it every Thanksgiving. He always tells me how glad he is that I was there. It’s general consensus in my family that she waited for me to visit to die. I don’t know if that’s true or not.

This year, I’ll cook the meal myself. I’ll tell R more about his great-grandmother, and what a great lady she was. I’ll tell him how much she would have loved him and how I wish she were here.

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