18 January 2012

Our last day together....

Tomorrow will mark five years since you left us and joined Nannu in heaven.  They've been a full five years with many celebrations and challenges and yet, I miss you more than ever.  I cry the moment I think of you because I would give anything to have one more day with you.  One more coffee.  A few more hours around your kitchen table.  One more story. 

I think about that last week with you - I knew you were ready.  You only asked for one more Christmas. You told me you were tired.  We knew it was your time.  Those first few days in the hospital when you couldn't feed yourself we would sit with you and help.  Then, as stubborn as ever, you started to refuse to eat.  I would go in and coax you and make you get a few morsels in but then, that Sunday knowing that food would only sustain you, you let one last sip of espresso pass your lips and that was it.  We knew you were done.  They moved you to Palliative Care the next day so we could spend our last minutes with you in private.  Those minutes ended up as days - nurses and doctors baffled by your ability to hang on and yet we knew, you would go in your own time.  You knew how much we all loved you and you knew that we needed to say good-bye.  That last night is still so clear to me.  All of us packed in to your tiny room eating Kernels popcorn, sharing stories (egg shaquat lol!!), and toasting you.  This huge group of family just filling the halls with laughter and memories. People were in and out - not wanting to leave your side and saying their goodbyes and i love you's.  I remember waking in the middle of the night and, knowing the end was near, writing your obituary and the letter which would become my eulogy at your funeral.

The next morning the sun was shining so bright and we knew that it was your last day.  Your kids were all there with you that day, as were Rawna, Gina and I.  We sat and prayed with you, witness to your last rites.  My mom turned you toward the sun and whispered in your ear to imagine it was the sun of Figline.  You'd been off all IV's and support for five days - the nurses came in and asked if there was anyone she could be waiting to say good-bye to, baffled by your ability to hold on.  So we called Lori-Ann and Anthony who were living away and put the phone to your ear so they could give their love to her.  Uncle Lou left to drive Gina to the train and Rawna to an appointment.  It was only after we went to the cafeteria and ate (making sure Tony was fed ;)) that those moments in between breaths started getting longer.  We sat at your side watching and waiting to see if another breath would come.  They slowed and slowed until the moment that you scrunched your whole face in pain, one tear left your eye and off to heaven you went.  I held your hand and my moms, 3 generations of strong women joined together.  We sent you on your way with love and everyone in our family has missed you every single moment since then.

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