Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Legacy

Well, I (and most of my family) made it through a very tough week. Sunday I told my Grandma goodbye. Monday was a very somber Valentine's day. Tuesday Grandma went to Heaven. Wednesday was Brock's 6th Birthday. Thursday was the Rosary. Friday was the Funeral. Saturday was Brock's Birthday Party. Talk about a huge roller coaster of emotions in just a few days! But as my emotions were consistenly inconsistent, there was one thing that was always there. Family. The funeral was very hard for me. I couldn't make it through any of the songs. My cousin Thomas sang them and was amazing. I don't know how he did it. Going to the cemetery was difficult as well. When we returned to Grandma's house, it wasn't like TV where everyone is quiet, stands in small groups, wearing black and having a small bite to eat. Nope. Not our family. We ordered pizza, migrated to the garage and started with a circle of about 8 around the folding table. Pretty soon, we were finding anything and everything to sit on and extending the circle into an oval the size of the whole garage. Nearly everyone had changed into shorts, flip flops and short sleeves. Drinks had been poured and a margarita bucket was found in the deep freezer. --Thanks Grandma!! :-) There was NOTHING quiet about this group. There were lots of smiles, and lots of laughter. There were 9 siblings/spouses, 13 cousins & cousins-in-law, and a few extended family members. This was Grandma's Legacy. WE, are Grandma's Legacy.
I can only hope when my life on earth is over, I can leave a legacy like Grandma. No, I don't intend on having three more kids! ;-) But a family filled with love and faith. (And perhaps one that can fill a garage??)

(This picture was taken on Thanksgiving evening 2010. Sadly, it only pictures the Aggie portion of our family, but I love this picture!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Missing You Already

I shouldn't be blogging right now, because I'm supposed to be getting ready and packing to head out of town in a few hours. The reality of that journey has just hit. I'm packing for my Grandma's Funeral. I don't seem to have many tears left at this point, but perhaps they're being stored up for tonight and tomorrow.
I've said oh so many times how thankful Tom and I are to have so many grandparents still with us. I often think about this around Christmas when we're making plans to see as many of them as possible. It always presents itself as a chore, and "one more stop", but in the end, I know these visits are precious. I had no idea Christmas 2010 would be as precious as it turned out to be.

Grandma was in some pain at Christmas. I remember my eyes tearing up a bit during mass when I had a feeling that something wasn't quite right and we may not all be here next year. Odd, how accurate intuition can be.

On January 14, we found out Grandma had cancer. We didn't know what we were facing yet, but it was found in part of her bone.

The first week of February she was back in the hospital. We found out it was pancreatic cancer. There was quite a roller coaster of emotions, but in the end, it was decided the best thing to do was to send her home with hospice care. At that time, we believed we had between 3-6 months to make the rest of Grandma's life as special as possible.

On February 10th, we got the call that anyone who wanted to come, should come now. I've never packed so fast in my life. I was afraid and unsure of what to expect when I got there. I am so thankful that although Grandma said some really goofy things (lots of morphine apparently will do that to you!), she knew me. I told her stories about the kids' snow day and she smiled big, with a special Grandma sparkle in her eye. She didn't sleep much that day, and when I saw all my family who came to see her, had to be thankful again. We have such a big family. And an amazing family. A family who truly loves spending time with each other, every chance we get. Who made us that way? Well, God of course, but Grandma did her fair share too. When I think about our family, this quote/song comes to mind: "All because two people fell in love."

We spent the weekend with Grandma and by the time I left Sunday, I had told her goodbye. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I didn't actually say the word goodbye, but I told her I loved her so very much, kissed her forehead and told her I had to go home to the kids. Tears were obviously flowing as I walked outside, knowing I wouldn't see my very beloved Grandma again.

Brock was riding with me, so possibly the second hardest thing I've done lately was hold it together and then explain to him that when people's bodies get old they aren't strong enough anymore and they go to heaven where they are all better, happy, meet God, play with the Angels, and watch over us.

I spent Monday and Tuesday with a huge cloud over my head. Wondering when I was going to get that call. Reading into every hour that went between mine and my mom's text messages. I found myself praying that her suffering would end and she could rejoice in Heaven.

On Tuesday afternoon, Grandma passed away. My heart ached and tears flowed. However, I think I felt more peace that night and all day Wednesday than I had in the past week. I know she's in a better place. In fact, I know she's walking hand in hand with Grandpa and they both have huge smiles on their faces! My Grandpa died in 1970. My mom was very young and I obviously was far from even being a twinkle in someone's eye. He also died in February. I smile when I think that on February 15th, 2011 they had a very LONG, OVER-DUE, somewhat late Valentine's date!

Grandma, I miss you already. I find myself not believing you're really gone. I know the next few days will be very hard and I will be very sad, but for myself...not you. I'm sad I won't have you to hold here on Earth. I'm happy you are rejoicing in Heaven with your Lord, your Husband, and all who have gone before you. Please look after us, "and between now and then, until I see you again, I'll be loving you. Love, me." (--Collin Raye)

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Is it a stay at home day?"

Brock has been asking for snow for at least a couple years now. Aubree and I were in the living room early this morning, and I could hardly wait for Brock to wake up so I could see his face when he found out it had SNOWED!
When he walked down the stairs he looked at us (watching tv) and immediately asked "is today a stay at home day?"
I told him "It's Friday. Do we stay at home on Fridays?"
He looked a little bummed when he said "no..."
Then I said..."except when it SNOWS!!"

His eyes perked up and he got so excited! We looked outside, then we opened the door, and when he felt how cold it was, it took a bit more persuasion to get enough layers on to go outside! :-) Such a lucky boy...he got a visit from the tooth fairy and and snow, all in one night!

The kids had a great time. I'm not sure Brock has EVER had as much fun as he did sledding! (or whatever you call this!) Aubree loved running around anywhere her Bubba did. And took every opportunity she could to eat the snow. eww!