I don’t know if you remember but last year on this date it was Wednesday. I was on my way to work and my cell phone rang. There are times when the phone rings that you just know it is not going to be good. It is 6:28AM and it was my sister on the other line. I could tell from the moment that she spoke that things were not all right.
“Jenny, Grandma died.”
There was a long pause as my brain wrapped itself around the meaning of those words. I believe that my next reaction was screaming, “WHAT!?!”
“Yes, Grandma died last night. Mom got the call about an hour ago.”
“How is she? How is Mom?”
“I don’t know. She is at Aunt T’s house now. But when she heard the news she just wailed. It was the most horrible sound I have ever heard.”
Right there at those words, my heart broke. I can not imagine the pain and sadness that over came my mother. Nothing else mattered at that moment. I just had to be with my mom. I had to see her but how, I was suppose to be at work. It was too late to call in. I was assigned patients, they were counting on me.
Honestly, the next few hours were a blur. I was able to get out of work early. I finally got in touch with my Mom. She was at work, wrapping things up so that she and her sister could make the long journey home.
I met her for lunch.
There was not a lot of eating at this lunch. We were just together. I just wanted to be strong for my Mom. I wanted to be her pillar and hold her up.
I let her talk.
I let her remember.
I let her cry.
I let her question God.
I failed a few times at holding my tears in.
I then watched her get into her car and drive away to meet my aunt. The whole thing just didn’t seem real.
I went home and began my own hell. A very sick family and trying to decide whether or not to go to the funeral.
Jeff was sick. Hayden was sick. The babies were still young, only 5 months old, and sick. I was exhausted both physically and emotionally. Went back and forth on whether to go or not. I cried. I have never felt so torn. Could I leave my family… but my family, my mom needs me.
At the very last minute, I made my choice. I was going. I had to go. I needed to be there. I got on a plane Friday night at 5PM and flew 800 miles. I then went to the funeral and got back on a plane Saturday afternoon and flew another 800 miles back home.
1600 miles in less than 24 hours. Was it exhausting? Yes! Was it worth it? Absolutely.
I was there to hold my Mom. I was there to hug her and support her. I was able to see members of my family; uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins, who I had not seen in years. I was able to see and be part of the beautiful legacy that my Grandparents created.
It still hurts that she is gone. I am her name sake and born a day after her birthday. I know that my Mom is still healing from this and I don’t know if she will ever fully heal. Time will tell. It is the little things that you miss, like the letters and the birthday cards.
But I know that she is in heaven. She was and is woman of God. Her faith was inspiring and what people remembered most about her. It was a faith that she share with all her children and grandchildren. And for that, I will be forever grateful and pass the faith onto my children.