How do you say goodbye?
Yesterday, Easter Sunday, at 2:47 pm my beautiful grandmother passed on. In June she would have been 95 years old.
Avery and I flew in on Friday night, and at my mother’s urging went immediately from the airport to my grandmother’s care facility. She had suddenly taken a turn for the worse Thursday, and my mother warned me that things were grim.
Grandma Berling had known weeks prior that we were coming that day, and it was as though she saved up her last vestiges of strength to lay eyes upon her first great-granddaughter for the first, and last, time. When we entered her room, her eyes fluttered weakly open once, twice, three times to see Avery, and then remained closed thereafter.
While I am not an overly-religious person, I do believe that babies have a special and very recent connection to heaven, and I swear Avery recognized in my grandmother an angel soon to be returning home. She cooed and gurgled each time Grandma opened her eyes on that first visit, and on subsequent ones simply sat quietly and observed with a questioning look in her eyes. For a baby who was mid-way through the process of cutting her second tooth, this was an unexpected and surprising reaction. We took the above photo a mere three hours before my grandmother’s passing, and I know myself and my family will treasure it always.
I am currently torn between the emotions of feeling guilty that I was not there with the children a week earlier when she was more aware and herself, and feeling honoured that I was there at all in her final days and hours.
However, I will not be postponing the writing of this blog for more than a day or two as I do believe that life goes on. My grandmother would not have wanted her family mourning her death as a tragedy, but rather reminding themselves of the happiness, good humour, and joy she and others bring to the world. Finding the humour in life is how my family moves forward, and even on one of our darkest weekends there were still moments found to laugh, love, and live.