Thursday, December 30, 2010

Grandma Mary


Mary McNair
1920 - 2010
(I took this photo at her 90th birthday party in November.)

You may remember when, back in June, I wrote about my grandma going into hospice. Well, yesterday morning at about 6:30 she passed quietly in her sleep. And while I my logical side knows it's what she's wished for each and every day for the past seven months, I'm still deeply saddened by her death. I'm trying hard to be strong - for my little ones; I must remember they've lost a grandma, too.

That was the hardest part about it - telling my own children. My daughter began to cry immediately. "Grandma can't die," she got out between sniffles, "I love her." It took longer to sink into my son; he didn't start crying for a minute or two, but then sobbed, and I mean sobbed, for 45 minutes. Then the questions began:

"How did she die?"

"Did she what to be cremated?"

"Where is she right now?"

"Where will they put her?"

These all stem from the loss of our good friend last winter. Somehow I know that losing Karen helped prepare them for this loss, not that you can really be prepared to lose someone you love. But they, my son (who is six) at least, understands that dying means that person is gone and we'll not see them again. The book When Dinosaurs Die has been a big help as well. If you have children and you don't own this book, you should get it.

So we've been talking a lot about keeping Grandma Mary alive in our hearts and remembering all the special things about her:

How she let them ride on her scooter and how they loved to race up and down the hallway where she lived. How she always seemed to have a sweet treat for them when they visited, and most importantly, how her face lit up when they walked into her room. They brought great joy into her life and she loved them so very much.

I am trying to remember that despite how much my heart aches today, my children and I are the luckiest of all Mary's grandchildren. Of her 16 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, (who are spread out over six states and three continents,) my children and I were the only ones who got to see her on a regular basis. We were a part of her life and she a part of ours and the memories we have make the tears bearable.

Good-bye Grandma Mary. We love you. And while I know you were a staunch atheist and did not believe in an afterlife of any kind, if you happen to discover that you were incorrect I hope you have a comfortable chair, a very sharp pencil, and an unending supply of crossword puzzles from the New York Times...

15 comments:

Valerie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

kate said...

It doesn't matter how old they are or how good a life they lived, a loss is a loss and it hurts the people left behind. My sympathies to you and your family. Stories and memories are so wonderful, especially now.

We lost my mother-in-law when my son was 5. He wanted to know where she was -- we realized he was worried she was still in the house where Grandpa was. Lots of questions, but also amazing insight from the 5-year-old mind. He told his Auntie not to be sad that she couldn't see Grandma anymore, because she could close her eyes and see Grandma whenever she wanted.

Anonymous said...

Such a good attitude .
Our loved ones live in our hearts forever.
Hugs to all of you. B.

Val said...

My condolences to your and your family, Liz. How wonderful, though, that your children will have memories of their great-grandmother to cherish in their hearts always.

Deanna said...

I am so sorry for your loss Liz. Losing a grandmother and great-grandmother that has been a vital part of your lives is heartbreaking. I will be praying for you and your children.

Allie said...

I'm so, so sorry for your loss, hon.

CFCina said...

I'm so sorry for your loss...hugs!

Gwendolyn said...

So sorry to hear of your loss.

Mandy said...

I am sorry for your loss Liz. Remember all of the wonderful memories you have of her. Hugs to you and your kids.

Brenda said...

So sorry for your loss. Prayers to you and your family.

stitching under oaks said...

she looked like a beautiful woman (both inside and out)...and I'm sure she'll be missed deeply. my sympathies to you and your family. goodbyes are always so hard.

cindi said...

so sorry to read this post..

denice@inkstitch said...

So sorry Liz. This is a beautifully written post.

Diane said...

I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Grandmother. Thank you for such a wonderful post of memories of her.

Sara said...

This is a beautiful tribute to your grandma. I lost my grandma this summer and all I could find to say that I loved her dearly...she was the heart of my heart. She loved life and her family and the fact that your young children are grieving her tells me that your grandma did as well.