A Fond Farewell

She would have been 93 today.
She missed turning 93 by 7 hours.
She was 92 years and 364 days old.

A few months ago, I asked my friend who was really like our "adopted grandmother" how her shoulder was doing (she had hurt it somehow and was doing physical therapy for it.  Ya'll - she was 92!  And sharp as a tack and still exercising!)  She replied, "Katie, getting old is hell."  
I told her she didn't act or look old.  I also told her I thought that if, at 92, the only thing bothering her was her shoulder, she had it pretty good.
She agreed and we shared a good laugh.

For about 10 days, she lay quietly sleeping just around the corner - in Hospice.
I've known her for 26 years.
We moved next door to her when I was five and since we didn't have any local grandparents, my little brother and I adopted both sets of our elderly neighbors to be our "adopted grandparents."  We adored Bubby & Dorothy and as their only son lives in Japan and they don't have biological grandchildren, they quickly adopted us too.
They've joined us for holiday meals for years.  We've heard their stories - many repeatedly - for years and years.  We've learned from their wisdom and experiences.
We've laughed at how they finished each other's sentences.
We marveled that she managed to live (& live well) for a year and a half after losing Bubby.
(I marveled in hospice this week that she still has her teeth and beautiful white hair which she has worn the same for the last 26 years!)

Will fell in love with "Gigi" and Bubby too upon first meeting them.  (Will named Dorothy "Gigi" - isn't that so cute?)  
Ellie (above) met Gigi just weeks after her birth - and quickly Gigi's cheek became one of the few that Ellie would lean forward to "kiss."  Gigi loved it! 
Bubby died about 2 years ago.  Will and I quickly came to town to sit near his bedside.  I held Dorothy's hand and kissed Bubby's cheek.

Two weeks ago, Dorothy had a fall.  At age 92, she didn't break anything.  But she began to bleed in her brain and I think she decided she was simply tired.  She was moved to Hospice and while she was somewhat responsive, I took the kids to see her and tell her they love her and kiss her goodbye.
Yesterday, I went for a quick visit.  Each visit feels like it may be my last.    My visits are short - she didn't seem aware of my presence these last several days.  My prayers were at the throne of God - that she would choose Jesus and eternity with Him.
When we got the call, I called a neighbor who came to get Will (how thankful I am for a streetfull of kind, trustworthy new neighbors.)  Ellie and I quickly headed down the street.  She was gone when we arrived.  The nurse said she smiled with her final breath.
Driving home I thought of the jewelry she has given me and her 1940's fur.  I thought of their stories and their Jewish cultural heritage and how much I loved hearing their stories.  I thought of their love of coastal fishing and the antique red wagon they gave Will.  I thought of their funny house and how she always served Doritos and martinis.  I thought of what a testimony to being a good neighbor she and Bubby were - surrounding her body today - all of us who had been her neighbors.  No family in the state and so those who have held her hand and sat with her and loved her for so many years - her neighbors.  I hope my neighbors would someday feel the same for me.  My dad took off her wedding band (worn for 73 years!) and Bubby's watch which she has worn faithfully since his death nearly 2 years ago.  And we cried.

My heart aches at knowing my last goodbye came - 
I will miss my Bubby and Gigi.

1 thoughts:

~Stevie~ said...

We remember the life & death of our dear Grandparents on the same day! My Poppaw's birthday was the 16th as well. Praying for you, friend. I know how hard it is to let them go (especially when you don't know what eternity looks like for them). Jayce actually asked me the other day if Will's Grandpa that died ever chose Jesus. I forgot we had discussed that and prayed for it when Bubby was dying. Love & miss you guys. P.S. Liked the Chick-fil-a pics. You can also pass on to R that we are choosing to stay with Dr. B after our follow-up with him today... Ok, that's it. :)

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