There is a very special bond that ties grandparent to grandchild. I was lucky to be one of my Nana's cherished few. She didn't love freely like most grandmothers. She is probably the one who taught me how to look for the love people give, rather than the love we expect. She rarely said those three small words but there was never a moment that I questioned her care for me. I remember the last days with vivid memory - all of us gathered in her room together sharing stories, holding her hand and mixing drinks with the hospital crushed ice. When she decided that enough was enough, it was only me that could get her to listen to the nurses or eat her meals. I remember my mom and my aunts calling me to come down there because she wouldn't cooperate for anyone else. I loved that little, old lady with all that I am.
It's interesting how people often recount their loved ones deaths and how they say that it seemed as though they were "waiting" until it was the perfect time to let go. Nana did the same. We all knew that morning that the time was near. We gathered in her room for prayers and last rights. My mother turned her bed towards the sunshine and whispered in her ear to feel the warmth and think of returning home. We each held her hand for a few moments and got to say the last words of love and thank you. It wasn't until it was just the few of us - her children and me - all gathered around her bedside watching as each breath took more time to come. Our eyes glued to her chest to see it rise and fall, our breath held and works of comfort telling her to go and that we would all be ok. Hoping that as she let go, that she would hear us and know just how loved she was. The last breath was deceiving. She took one last gasp and scrunched her face, a final tear escaping as she exhaled, and that was it. On the edge of our seats, our eyes focused on her chest waiting for it to rise once again but we knew that she had finally left us. I held my mother as she held her mother's hand and we all cried knowing that our family would never again be the same without her.
JC's grams isn't well. Like mine, she is well into her 90's and has lived a full life but that really does not make it easier to think of days ahead without them. The bond and the love that the two of them share is special and as much as logically he is ok with this being her time to go, I know that his heart aches to think of losing her. All I want to do is wrap my arms around him and have him tell me a million stories of his time with her so that she lives on. We are some of the lucky few to have had such great love with their grandmothers. And for him, that bond superceeds anything else. She was more than a grandmother to him. She was there for him and shared time with him, illustrating just how special he is to her. It brings me back to thinking of Nana when i hear him talk about her - how she refuses to take medicine or eat without him there and how she tells him how special he is to her. When he talks of her, that confident, polished, immensely smart grown man that he is fades away into this sweet, young boy who is just looking for someone to love him. When mom couldn't be there and without dad around, grandma was there. She was the one who took him to church on Sundays and followed him in the car as he did papers on rainy mornings. She was there to love him in the times that he needed that the most. To lose this woman is to break his heart and to know that there is nothing I can do to help almost breaks mine.
This song came up in my memories feed on Facebook today and it made me think a lot today about what makes me feel the luckiest. Last year when I had originally shared it, it was Thanksgiving and it played during the final shavasana making me think of just what things, people and experiences I am so very grateful for. We are the luckiest because we have known the great love of our grandmothers. We are lucky to have so many memories to cherish and so many lessons learned to shape us. How blessed may we be to one day have the same love and bond with a grandchild, or perhaps a nephew in my case. As much as I have found peace with not having children there are moments when I think of my Nana and it saddens me not to get that bond with a grandchild because to me it was so special and sweet. In this week of gratitude, I am thankful. I am thankful that JC was able to love Gma so fully and sweetly and that he was gifted her devotion in return. I am thankful that I had my Nana whose voice sometimes echos in my memories. We are truly the luckiest for the love that was gifted to us. My honour was to share that last breath with her and to know that in her last moments with us she could feel our hearts around her. For that love, I truly am the luckiest.