Saturday, December 28, 2013

In Memoriam

This is one Christmas that will not soon be forgotten, though our Christmas day was not particularly memorable. We spent the entire day on the floor putting together Legos. We didn't even eat. The kids had cereal before finally getting to bed around 9:00, and we had leftover chicken. What a hostess I am.

This Christmas won't be memorable because I neglected to cook a big dinner, though. This will be the one that we remember because we lost one of the most amazing women I've ever known. My grandmother was one of the most caring, sweetest people I've ever known. I was blessed to actually be related to her, but there were a lot of people who were blessed just by knowing her.

I have so many memories of her, and I cannot believe that I will never see her again. That we will never again walk through her door to find her baking or stuffing tins with one of the many cookies that earned her the name "Grandma Cookie."

I'm finding it difficult to describe what it's like to lose a a relative while overseas. A year ago I couldn't have thought of a single reason why I would miss the funeral of someone so important to me. This past summer when she started to allude to the fact that she wouldn't see us again, I didn't believe her. I didn't even think about what it would be like to come back solely for her funeral.

A couple of months ago when she started to get sicker, I thought that it would be too tough to go back for it. Eric couldn't handle all the run around with the kids without me. Then, as things became more imminent, I realized that I couldn't not go home for it. My family is too important to me to miss this. I talked to my principal, and I was on high alert for the few weeks before Christmas break. Always had sub plans written in the back of my head.

Then my brother arrived. The very next morning I got an email I didn't want. We needed to discuss what our plan would be if she passed away while he was here.

It was not an easy decision. One that involved a lot of pieces--plane tickets, time changes, kids, Christmas. I won't go into details, but I can't emphasize enough how difficult the decision was. In the end, we are confident that our family understands and that each and every one of them know how much we love them and wish we could have been there during this time. We also appreciate the lengths they've gone to include us as much as possible in the events at home. More than anything, we know that Gram is looking down on us and is happy that we're together.

Grandma Cookie created and nurtured an incredible family and for that I will always be grateful. I remember as a kid, I would watch our family and wonder how she put up with us. She was always the calm amidst the storm. Even at the end, she handled everything with grace and dignity, adamant that it was her time to go even if we weren't ready to let her go. She will always be greatly missed. My grandpa wrote some wonderful words about her here

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