Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Grandma's and Birthdays...

Lauren's great grandma died Sunday night. We knew she was sick and didn't have much time left, but it was still a bit of a surprise when she went. Instead of taking a few weeks to go downhill--she took exactly two days.

This is the woman that Lauren calls Grandma. Her actual grandma is called Sweetie and looks way too young to be a grandma, so she is just sweetie. Grandma Thora was the white haired lady that baked cookies w/ her, made mac and cheese whenever she wanted it, spent hours playing puzzles and Barbies. Grandma stuff. When I would ask Lulu who she wanted over for a play date, her first request was always Grandma Thora. When we moved this year, we ended up just down the road from her. Lauren and Grandma had a connection that we all wish we had with our grandparents.

I knew that it would be hard to tell her. We had been easing her into the situation for awhile. We had talked to her about how Grandma Thora's body was getting old and broken. When we knew it would just be a matter of hours, we decided to just break it to her. We had originally planned to go over to visit that day (before we knew she was so sick), but instead had to tell her essentially there would be no more visits--ever. She was understandably upset. She worried that Grandma would be scared and would be sad because her "Lulu girl" didn't come to say goodbye. She really, really wanted to say goodbye and to see her one last time. Grandma requested that just a small group of people come. That was the hardest part for Lu, knowing that she wouldn't get to see her just one more time. My husband was about to head over to grandma's, so Lulu drew her a picture. It said "I love you Grandma Thora, you are sweet". That alone made me cry.

After she passed, my husband took Lauren over to her house to visit w/ my inlaws ( I stayed home w/ the baby--it was really late). She cried a bit, and played w/ all her toys and kept asking and asking to see Grandma. My MIL and FIL, in their wisdom, let her. I would have been much more reluctant to let my 4 year old see a dead person. They don't look the same and I would have worried about it making her more worried and scared. Sweetie fixed Grandma up and let Lulu go in to say goodbye. She saw the picture that she had drawn on the bedside table and that made her cry. She got to kiss her and hold Grandma's hand. Derek said she was pretty shaken up but doing ok. She was able to express how sad she was and how much she would miss her.

After a while it was time to leave Grandma's house. Lulu went around to all the people there and gave them each a kiss and a hug. She always does this before we leave. She asked if she could give Grandma a kiss goodbye. When her dad told her no, she got so upset they finally just let her do it. When she went in to the bedroom, she climbed on the bed, put her head on Thora's chest and hugged her and sobbed for a really long time. She then gave her a kiss on the cheek and told her goodbye. She was very, very upset in the car coming home and that night she couldn't sleep. It took her three hours to calm down. She had lots of questions--most of them with the purpose of being reassured that WE wouldn't die. It broke my heart to see my little girl so sad. Thora really was her best friend. This will leave an enormous hole in her life. As she was sobbing in bed and asking me "why do we all have to die?" I could see how scared she was. I have a feeling I will be seeing this look more and more as she gets older. As our kids grow they have to deal with lots of things that are scary and we usually can't do anything to help them. I was so grateful last night that I was able to make it a little bit better. She kept telling me she wanted me to stay with her until she fell asleep. I as able to do something to make it better. I know that is not going to be the case for much longer.

In retrospect, I am still not sure if it was the right thing to let her see Grandma. I don't think I would have wanted to, but she was SO INSISTENT. As a mother I know that she usually doesn't know what she is talking about. Lauren insists she can fly, doesn't need to eat and is the REAL Annie as well. 4 year olds don't always know what they want. I am glad that she got to have that kind of closure. She kept telling me--"if I hadn't seen her I wouldn't be this sad" and
"If we didn't have pictures of Grandma at our house I wouldn't be this sad"..... maybe that is true. It is also true that sometimes life gives us things that are hard. I wish she didn't have to learn that at such a young age, but we all have to learn it sometime. As far as bad things go, it could have been so much worse. Ultimately she is lucky to have had a grandmother like that. A person who really, really cherished her, never made her do things she didn't want to do and was completely engaged w/ her. Don't get me wrong, her other grandmothers really love her too. They still have young kids at home and one lives far away. They don't have the time to devote to a little person because they are still very much in mom mode.

Here is to a wonderful woman, who lived a long and wonderful life. She left behind a family that loved her. You really can't do better then that.

P.S. Lauren's birthday is Sunday. Not only did she loose her grandma, but her birthday is getting switched too.....

15 comments:

wendysue said...

Bek, what a wonderful blog. It's amazing what kids can teach us huh? I wish my children had that kind of relationship with their great-grandmas. I do have pictures with my grandma and mom (4 generations) with the girls, but they were just babes. We have been trying to get out to Maryland to visit Matt's grandparents, the last time we were there was when Madison was 18 months old, this blog makes me want to get there faster.

~j. said...

Bek. Thank you for this blog. In time, there will be no regret about the decision of letting her see Grandma's body, and of saying goodbye. I have regret (anger? sadness?) that I wasn't even allowed to go to my grandmother's funeral - I think that was seventeen years ago, and it still hurts.

We had a stillborn son when our oldest was only 18 months old (I'm sure I'll write about it when the time is right - October), and we have pictures of the two of them together. We visit his grave, and Rae likes to see the photos, that she was with Taylor, and held him. HELL at the time, in every way...and now, no regrets.

Bek said...

Thanks both of you for your input. We just went to Grandma's to get Lulu's toys (her request). It set off a whole new round of tears, but will be better in the end. Funeral this weekend.....

R

Jenny-I am so sorry for your loss. My friend just lost a baby at 7 months. It is just awful. I actually heard about a lady in our area that is professional photographer who will take, for free, pictures of the families w/ the baby after it has passed. She wanted to help the families have a memory and beautiful portrait as a memory of the litter person that will always be a part of their family.

I guess she had a baby that died and she always wished she had a picture. She also acknowledged she wouldn't have wanted to do it at the time, but wanted it later. She works with families to help them understand that they might want it later. I apprecite your comment about that. Again, I am sorry that anyone has to deal with that.

Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson said...

Rebbeca,
that is what blogs are all about. I am sorry about your grandma!
Did you get your baby?

Bek said...

Steph--thanks for your words.

Baby Watch 2005 is still on. This little guy is stubborn. Birth mom went to the doctor today and everything is fine but she isn't dialated even a little bit!!

If she hasn't had the baby by August 31st, they will start to talk about inducing her.

Considering the first due date that they gave her was July 15, what is six more weeks, right?

Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson said...

do you have a name for him? what is your other sons name?

Bek said...

Names, names, names....

We have about three million girls names that we like but we have a harder time w/ the boys. We are lucky we got Jacob named. The worst part is that we don't get a new birth certificate for 6 months. We could potentially have 6 months to change our mind...

Right now I like preppy names that fit w/ the other kids names. I like Zach, Charlie, Theo (I know, I know Theo Huxtable, but I like it). Derek really, really likes Asher. Lots of the names we like just didn't seem to fit a black boy. We know a few Ashers and they are all black. It is also a bible name.... I just don't know I am ready to be the lady w/ kids that have trendy/different names, ya know?

Thanks for asking. By the way, we are open to suggestions. Your boy is Oliver, right?

christopher clark said...

Erbecca.

Sorry about this. I knew that Grandma and she was a riot. Very sweet lady. Sounds like you handled it right, as usual.

I think Asher is a great name.

Bek said...

Thanks Chris, it is nice to hear from you. I never really get to see you when I am out visiting. I know that Lisa really gets to see you either....

I am thinking it might be Asher....or Zach.....no wait....

christopher clark said...

Miles has some good name suggestions if you're interested. :0) It was good to talk to you the other day. Lauren is a sweet, sweet little girl.

lisa v. clark said...

that was me

Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson said...

Asher is the coolest name. Go with Asher.
My son is Oliver, yes, which is a awesome (I have to admit)
I LOVE Charlie!
Name upkeep is difficult because you want a flow going on.
Nicolas is classic, I also really like Graham. That was my old BF name, so I could never use it...

Christy said...

Good luck on your upcoming adoption! I just found your blog (I just started reading Wendy's). I have two adopted children (1 boy and 1 girl) and I know the waiting is tough! Our girl was born 2 weeks late and it was TORTURE! I really wish you the best.

c jane said...

Bek,
I vote for Asher too, (and not just because my siblings voted for the name).
I also wanted to say, that I am always impressed when I hear about people having good relationships with the elderly. I think it is getting harder and harder to do so.
And I can't believe that you don't have your baby yet! How fun this is! I feel like I have front row seats to "The Adoption of Asher!"

Bek said...

Aww shucks you guys, I feel so social. Thanks for the votes on the name. I wish you could have seen the face of my MIL when we told them about Asher......duh duh duh.

We will just have to see what he looks like.

Baby Watch 2005 continues....