Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful but Heart Broken

I was REALLY looking forward to this Thanksgiving.   I was so excited for Leah's first roadtrip to Memphis, to spend Thanksgiving-poloza with my mom's side of the family, and to just have any amazing time... but our plans changed in a blink of an eye.

Tuesday night, as Leah and I waited for Brian to get home so we could start packing for our trip, I was watching the news.  The news is usually on, but with a baby, its hard to actually pay attention to anything on TV.   All of a sudden I heard ..."accident in Barnhart."  I immediately looked up at the screen, saw an intersection that I am very familiar with, and then recognized the damaged car.   It was my grandmother's car.   My heart started to beat faster. I felt sick to my stomach.   I tried to get my phone to turn on but it was too dead.   At that instant Brian walked in the door.  

Me: "Let me have your phone!" 
Me:  "There was an accident on TV and I just know its my grandma's car." 
Brian: "She has a pretty common car.."
Me: "I just know its her!"

I dialed her house phone and she didnt answer.

I called my parents house.   As soon as my mom answered the phone I knew something was wrong.   I could hear it in her voice.   My mom did not tell me much... just that it was my grandmother.   She was waiting for my dad to come home.   She couldnt tell him the news over the phone, and she needed to tell him everything first.     My mom did not need to tell me anything else... I knew the outcome... I knew my grandmother, the woman who watched me thru-out my childhood, that was at every single sporting event of mine, at every graduation, and at the birth of Leah... died in that accident.

I was just in shock Tuesday night... She was just at my house a week ago for Leah's birthday party... She wasnt sick. If that was the case, we could have prepared ourself for the loss.  We werent expecting this.  She was just gone.

Wednesday, everything really began to sink in.   All the wonderful, amazing memories started to flow back to me and the realization that there would be no more new ones hit like a ton of bricks.  I was completely heart broken.  

Growing up, she was my babysitter.   One of my very first memories is her pushing my in a stroller thru my neighborhood and pointing out the trees. She eventually watched my little sister as well, and was there every morning before school and evening when we came home.   My sibilings and I were all old enough to attend school, but she would come over to make sure we made it to school OK since my parents would leave earlier for work.     From the day I started sports to my last game she was ALWAYS there.   She was always there not just for me, but also for all of my siblings games, and my cousins games, and even for my teammates.   Once news hit facebook of my grandmother's death I received such amazing messages, from  past teammates, on how supportive she was and how they also remember her always being there.   I havent played an organized game in 8 years, and its amazing that even others remember her presence. When I went away to college and after I graduated she would send weekly cards filled with newspaper clippings, coupons, and jokes.  Our family used to joke about this mail that all the grandchildren received, which was always recognized with the bajillion stickers on the envelope.  But now the thought of them just makes me cry because I know we will never receive another one.    

My grandmother was amazing.   She valued family more than anything.   I always felt like her favorite... and I will fight anyone to prove it... but truly, I am sure each of her 9 grandchildren and 4 (+ 1 on the way) great grandchildren felt that way.    Even far distant cousins received the same respect and love as her own immediate family.   We were all connected somehow, and that was all that mattered.  

Although she was taken quickly, unexpectantly, her life was far from unfullfilled.   She travelled the world, multiple times over.   At 80+ years old she went to China and India and even had a trip to Libia planned.   She loved a good road trip.   Every summer her and my aunt would drive all over the country to visit the family she loved so much.   She loved her car and her freedom and although it is so tradgic that her life was taken in an awful accident, it is almost poetic as she loved the freedom her car gave her. I am sure it was one of her favorite places/things.  

As much as I want to celebrate her amazing life, its so hard to know that she will not be there phyiscally for the next big event.   I can clearly remember her telling me not to be sad when my grandfather and aunt passed away because they have gone to a better place... I know that she is telling me this same thing right now.   I need to remember to celebrate her life, rather than greif her loss.... but it is a life I already miss...

Yep! That's her real hair color! I hope I get this trait.... plus many more!!

I love you Grandma!   Forever and always you will be in my heart!


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