Faith

I’ll Love You Forever, Grandma.

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Every now and then things get thrown into focus for me. Well, I’m sure it’s one of those things that happen to everybody… but I feel like it happens more frequently for me.

As I sit here writing, my grandma is dying. That might seem blunt, but it feels as though we’ve had 10 years to prepare ourselves for this. She has had dementia or Alzheimer’s basically since my grandpa passed away a little over 10 years ago. They were married for a very long time. I think that when he passed so suddenly, her heart literally broke. She couldn’t handle life without him, and a switch flipped. We think that he was even trying to cover for her memory changes by leaving little post it notes around EVERYWHERE. Originally we thought they were for him, but as we talked about it we figured out he was trying to help her. I miss my grandpa SO much, but I feel as though I mourned her at the same time. She went into a nursing home about 7 or 8 years ago. She didn’t know my name. She had no idea who I was, and I struggled with that. I carry a lot of regret that I didn’t go visit her more, but it was just too difficult.

It’s always hard to lose a grandparent, but this is a lot harder than I expected. I spent the greater part of my first 14 years with my grandparents. I would be with them all day, everyday from age zero to age 5 or 6 when I started Kindergarten. They would both come pick me up after school from Kindergarten to half way through my 8th grade year when he passed away. They knew everybody at my school. They were just the type of people that would make friends with anyone and everyone. I spent every Summer with them. They would always make sure we had fun things to do like go to the mall, the aquarium, MOSI and so many other places.

Like I was saying, I felt prepared. I knew this day would come eventually. My dad texted me on Saturday, February 25th and said that my grandma was in the hospital, she had a UTI and the flu (which later turned into pneumonia) and the doctors were saying it didn’t look good. Mike and I went to see her that night.  My whole family was around her. We don’t get together nearly as much as we used to, so it was nice to see all of them. I just wish it was under better circumstances. The prognosis wasn’t good, and on Tuesday, February 28th she was moved to Hospice. This made it completely clear: this is the end. This is happening in the near future. I didn’t get a chance to see her at all that week, and the guilt of not visiting her over the last 8 years or so came crashing down on me. All it took was hearing a song, one that my grandpa used to sing, to make me absolutely lose it. That was Thursday night. I went straight from work on Friday to go see her.

As I stood looking down at her, she didn’t even resemble the woman that I used to know so well. She was so frail, so weak looking. The lady I knew was bubbly and energetic. It’s been ages since I said the rosary prayers. She used to make me come downstairs every day at 11:40 (EWTN had a special daily broadcast)  to recite it with her. She had given me a rosary back then to use. It was a beautiful pink glass rosary. I tore this apartment, and my parents house apart and I can’t find it ANYWHERE. It’s devastating. I knew she would want one right now. I was distraught again. Mike showed up on Saturday with a new one that he had stopped to buy on the way to Hospice. Just when I think I can’t love him any more than I already do! I put the rosary in her tiny hand, held my hand over hers, and said all the prayers that I could remember. It was one of the special things we shared. See, if I had not had my grandma in my life, I don’t believe I’d have the faith that I do now. She’s the first one that “introduced” me to Jesus. She’s the sole reason that I went to a Christian school. She guided me towards the best gift that anyone could ever want, salvation.

My grandmother was a strong Catholic. She was a loved Eucharistic minister at her church. She raised 4 boys and 3 exceptional grandchildren (if I do say so myself.) Her faith was her foundation, and right now that brings me tremendous comfort. She was a PROUD Italian woman that could make a mean meatball. Her love for family and friends was obvious to anyone. She was also an incredibly talented artist.

While I sit here, reminiscing, it’s kind of funny to me that I thought her death wouldn’t affect me. How could it not? Just because her mind went several years ago, doesn’t mean she did. I know she’d be the first one to forgive me for not visiting her. She’d probably give me a great big hug and tell me to stop worrying! I know for darn sure she wouldn’t want me beating myself up.

For right now, she’s still hanging in there. Today marks 7 days that she’s been in Hospice. She’s fading slowly but steadily. She’s asleep most of the time now. We talk to her in hopes that wherever her mind is right now, she’ll hear us. I’m trying to look on the bright side, like she would have done. Jesus, whom she loved with all of her heart, is so close now. There have been a few times that she’s opened her eyes and  looked towards the far corner of the room. I like to think that maybe she sees him. Her husband who she’s missed so very much is in heaven, preparing her welcome home party. Her parents, her sister and all the other family and friends that she’s lost absolutely can’t wait to see her. They’re going to have one huge family reunion up there. They always loved going to those! I can’t even begin to explain to you how much comfort it brings me, knowing she was a woman of faith. God can truly heal all wounds, in any sense of the word.

Mom-mom, I love you. I always have and I always will. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you. I miss you so much already, but I know you’re not yourself here. When you get to heaven, you’ll be yourself again, and that brings me so much joy. You can keep hanging in there, God knows you’re a fighter, but it’s also okay to go. We know how excited you’ve got to be to see grandpa. I love you so, so much and I can’t wait to see you again some day!

grandparents

Things like this really put things into perspective. It’s amazing just how many silly things we can worry about throughout the day, when in the grand scheme of things, they just don’t matter. Hold your loved ones close, go visit them. Tell them you love them, or tell them anything at all! Embrace them while they’re here and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Until next time…

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I'm a 26 year old NASM certified personal trainer with a corrective exercise specialization! My love for fitness and nutrition blossomed several years ago. It has changed my life. Now it's my mission to help and encourage all of you through my blog as well! Feel free to contact me!

4 Comments

  1. Linda

    March 7, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Beautifully written. I believe she felt her hand cupped in yours and felt the faith of your prayers.

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      March 7, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks! I like to think so 🙂

  2. David Pitruzzello

    March 7, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    That was wonderful Erin! I can hardly type this with the tears in my eyes…
    You and Josh and Alyssa were the light of their eyes!

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      March 8, 2017 at 4:01 am

      She’s a special lady 🙂

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