I don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to death. The only personal experience I really have is my grandfather who passed away after a heart attack when I was in high school. I have a horrible memory so I don’t remember much more than kissing his bald head for the last time in the hospital and the sadness of the funeral. I, of course, still feel the loss though.
This week has been a bit of a hard one for me, as my 92 year old grandmother, who hasn’t known me for a few years due to dementia, has taken the descent from this earthly place, to the ascent of her heavenly home. She is blessed to be in her home, comfortable, peaceful, and quiet. I gave my kids the option to go see her. The only one who took me up on it was Neely. She was nervous, but really wanted to see her. Neely is sensitive that way, and has always had a special place in her heart for the aging. So we visited her over the weekend to spend some time with her.
While her dementia has left her not knowing the people or places around her, she still has a love of music. Looking into her empty eyes has been hard, but if there is music around, we see that glimpse of the spunky Grandma Thompson we know and love as she moves her feet, hands, or head to the music. So during this visit Neely played the piano for her. She didn’t say anything, but her eyes focused and she tapped her feet in the hospital bed in her living room to the music her great-granddaughter was playing for her. We sung to her as well.
I have had a few more visits with her this week. I rustled her out of a far away stare with my voice and got a few small weak smiles. I will cherish those smiles filed away in my fondest memory file. I have been blessed with the longevity of my grandparents. And have been thankful for the time I’ve had with her.
So in a day or so we are saying goodbye to Grandma Thompson. If you knew her, you loved her. If you didn’t, you missed out.