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March 4th

Pretend I wrote this yesterday. That's the real anniversary.

It was March 4, 1999 that my grandmother died. It doesn't seem possible it has been ten years. All day yesterday I was thinking there was some engagement I was forgetting, some commitment. My calendar didn't give me a hint; it just listed a workshop in Philly I considered attending. It wasn't till late in the day, as I ran errands in my car, that I realized.

She was 99 years old, almost 99 and a half, and had been living in a Boston retirement home for a few years after needing to move out of her apartment. Gramma had always loved reading and conversation, but now could barely see or hear. Her only escape, she told my mother once, was in her dreams.

Finally, Gramma -- who was in reasonable health for someone her age -- began refusing food and drink. My feeling is that she had finally had enough of the prison her life had become. She couldn't interact with the world. She had lost her husband many years before, and more recently had lost her sister and a daughter. All she could do was sit or lie around. At some level, she must have thought, "What's the point?"

Weeks went by.

One night I had a dream in which Gramma was carrying a suitcase. My grandfather came to meet her, took the suitcase from her hand, and they walked on together.

I was still in Pennsylvania, about 350 miles away with my six-year-old son; I decided I was going to drive up to see Gramma in Massachusetts. My husband was up there already on a business trip. My mother-in-law tried to talk me out of it, probably making dire predictions of my car in a ditch in a blizzard, but I didn't listen. I was going.

As I prepared for the trip, I did something I have never done before. I reached out in my mind to contact Gramma, heart to heart, and say, "Please wait for me, I'm coming."

My son and I spent a whole day driving north, connecting with my husband, and going to my parents' house. When we got there, I didn't even take off my coat. I said, "Let's go see Gramma."

We all went to the retirement home. She had a small room, so we did not all go in at once. My father sat in a chair by the bureau, and I think my mother sat by the window while I pulled up a chair to Gramma's bed and took her hand and spoke to her for some time. She seemed to be asleep, but I talked to her anyway. I don't remember all I said, but I know I said I loved her and she could move on if she wished.

Then my husband brought our son in. I had no idea what to suggest he do, and I'm sure he was apprehensive, so I finally just said, "Blow Great-Grandma a kiss." He did, and the most amazing thing happened; I could feel this wonderful flow of beautiful energy between the two of them -- I can't explain it at all, but I loved it.

And at some point, my father told me something I found fascinating: He (looking for something to do) was reading the staff notes that were left on Gramma's bureau, and found a notation indicating that, for once, she had taken in a little food and drink that day.

"Please wait for me, I'm coming."

The next night, at our hotel, the phone call came.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 7th, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
My Gram passed last June and this March 3rd would have been her 95th. Thanks for sharing. There's just something about grandmas. I know it's a sad remembrance, but it's magical in the retelling. Sounds like you two had quite the connection

Mar. 8th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
Wow... I think we all have a bit of esp if we are paying attention.... And I have heard that the dying do actually choose when they go and whether they go alone or with chosen companions.... You were chosen...no doubt about that in my mind..... giggles
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )