Grandpa had been rushed to the hospital during Thanksgiving dinner, we thought he'd had a stroke. My mom and uncle had made the decision that Grandma had to stay home. That with the cancer, her immune system couldn't handle a trip to the hospital. My mom went with Grandpa in the ambulance and my step-dad, uncle and aunt followed in the car. Logan took the girls back to the hotel to swim and my brother and I sat with Grandma.
She paced for the first 20 minutes, talked on the phone for the following 40 minutes and then argued with...I think the wall for a few more minutes. She then looked at me and Justin (my bro) and said, this waiting just doesn't work for me. We'll sneak you in I said. Mom and Jim won't know until you are in the room. Then what will they do? Kill me maybe, but they won't make you go home.
We drove to the hospital, found a parking spot and walked into the lobby. Grabbed Grandma a wheelchair and a mask and we were good to go. They'd already moved him into a real room on the intensive care floor, so we were given, basically a treasure map to try and find him.
I've always despised this hospital, Grandma said. We always get lost. Whoever made it, didn't like people much. Newer hospitals are not set up like this. Did you know your mother was born here? Yeah, she was almost born in the hallway, because we couldn't figure out where we were supposed to go.
Justin stopped at this point and asked me to push Grandma. Why, what are you doing, I asked? He took the pink map and started tearing off teeny pieces. Then as we walked, he dropped a piece every so often. At some point Grandma noticed what he was doing. Why in the world are you littering, she asked him. Breadcrumbs Grandma, I'm leaving us breadcrumbs, so we can find our way out. I don't want to live here, you know?
Breadcrumbs? Like Hansel and Gretal she said. Then, she laughed and we laughed. It was possibly the funniest thing in the world. At that moment, laughing at breadcrumbs made us not sad. At that moment, my brother was the funniest man in the entire world. We laughed as we made our way through the entire hospital. We continued laughing until we found Grandpas room. Breadcrumbs.
Saturday afternoon, December 20, 2008:
The service was held graveside, it was the only way to get it done this weekend. It was cold and windy and really sad. But it was beautiful as well. The flowers were gorgeous, the service was short and sweet. There were a ton of people there. We buried her how she wanted it done. We placed her in her spot, where she wanted to be. Beside her husband, the love of her life. Right next to her parents, as she was their only child. She had a great send off.
As we were walking away, my brother asked me if he thought they check the body before they bury it. Check it for what, bombs? No he said, just check her again? You know, make sure nothing was placed in her coffin? OK, what did you do, I asked? At the funereal home, before we came out here, I went in and said good-bye to her. I also stuck three bright orange post-its in her pocket of her pants. I told her to leave me breadcrumbs and one day, I'll be able to find her.
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. But I thought of her and of that day. I thought about her laughter that day and I just burst out laughing. I doubt they checked her, I'm sure at that point what gets put in her coffin is between us and her.
We got in the limo with our parents and a few aunts and our uncle and we just laughed and laughed. We had to explain it too them, but they all though it was funny. We laughed all the way to my uncles house.
PS. I'm going to spend the next few days telling you shorter stories about my Grandmother. I am too tired and I have too much too do to write about her for hours, even though that's what I want to do. But this week is Christmas and I'm going to have a houseful of people so I have to get this house ready. Gone for one day, one freaking day and my house looks like it was hit by a hurricane.
Plus, I'm sure all of you have much better things to do than read my long-winded ramblings.
Sunday, December 21, 2008