For My Great Mother

I got the call earlier this afternoon. As soon as I saw my mother’s number, I knew what she would say. My mom is more likely to text these days before she’ll call and she never calls at four in the afternoon. I wasn’t surprised when she told me that Mother died, but I can’t get the sound of her voice out of my head. The way she cleared her throat and simply told me she’d get back in touch when they knew anything else told me she was trying so hard to keep it together. It made me realize that my mom just lost her mom.

Of course, I’m sad as hell over this, but I have a few mixed feelings about the whole thing. A series of strokes finally left my grandmother bedridden and unable to care for herself with tubes going through unholy orifices in her body. She was on the highest end of the pain scale with a regular dose of morphine to manage the pain.

I’m just so relieved that I managed to make it home last month. I know that the last thing I ever said to her was I love you and she really tried to tell me the same thing even though her condition robbed her of her speech. It didn’t stop her from trying to tell me it was good to see me when I first arrived. My sisters let me put lotion on her arms and hands while we sat and visited. This is what I’m trying to remember right now.

I don’t think I can really describe how remarkable my grandmother was. She lived to see four generations come under her, the last three calling her Great Mother. She was our matriarch and it was tough seeing her in the nursing home in that condition. Part of me is glad that struggle is over for her, but I mostly want to see her sitting at home in her favorite rocking chair with a puzzle book and cigarette.

I know my family will get through this. Everyone is probably telling themselves the same thing I’m telling myself. We have to be glad she is no longer suffering. She did right by us for so long and I hope we gave a little bit of that back in the end when she needed it. I don’t know if I’ll make it home to be with my family for her funeral, but I’ll mourn with them and get it through my head that she’s truly gone from this world.

Personally, I hope I never disappointed her. She always believed I would come out alright in this world no matter what I did. I just have to work even harder now to make sure I make her proud like I always wanted. I wish she’d been here to see me finally make it, but I’ll keep going. I know she knows how much I love her and that I will keep her in my heart and memory for the rest of my life.

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