Going home


imageAn extension of my previous post “Home.”

This is my grandma Maxine. “Max.” What a firecracker! She is the most fun 94 year old on the planet! But my grandma who has been so healthy and active, has cancer all through her body. I didn’t want to believe it when I first heard about it.
I couldn’t believe that one day in the near future, she wouldn’t be here. She was always there. At holidays and at our events and concerts while we were growing up. We went camping and fishing together. We had tea parties with oreos and milk. We had sleepovers and she’d let me wear a pair of her silky jammies (I would choose the peach ones and she would wear the pink), and we would fall asleep in her bed watching While You Were Sleeping. That was our movie. It was our special tradition. Just grandma and me. And she would always be there ready to have a sleepover. She was invincible Grandma Smith and was always going to be around.

But Heavenly Father had a different plan in mind. He decided it was time for her to get ready to go home.

My emotions are pulled in all different directions. I have been mad, sad, happy, thankful, peaceful, worried, and everything in between. I’m sad for my grandma to be hurting and sick. I’m sad if she feels scared or nervous. I’m sad for my mom having to watch her mom die. That would be the worst kind of torture. But my man has reassured me that my mom is on a higher spiritual plane than all of us combined, so she is going to be just fine. I am sad for my family. Hopefully they handle death better than I do. I’m glad that grandma can see her husband and her parents and her little girl and her sister and her friends when she gets to heaven. I am happy that she has lived such a great life. I am proud that I’m her granddaughter. I’m nervous for the funeral. Death is something I have never been able to wrap my head around and this one is going to be a doozy for me.

Before grandma got too sick I wanted to see her. So I packed up my boys and we drove to Oregon.

We visited her several times over the 2 weeks we were there. The first week she was very tired but just sat quietly in her chair sometimes sleeping, sometimes just listening. She was happy to have her family around her, even if she just watched and listened. When she would hear us laugh, she would laugh. Just like always. Grandma always laughs. Oh how I love her. She was able to use her walker and get to the table to play games. (Yep… My grandma is a gamer. How cool is that?!)

The second week she was too tired to get around much. She slept more that week. But she was still up for games! So we put a towel on a cookie sheet and I walked around the living room with the dice on the cookie sheet to each person while my cute mom followed with the score pad. It was so much fun!

The boys and I had to get back home to Utah so we took some pictures with grandma and gave hugs. I said “see ya later grandma!” And she said “ok” in her sweet pleasant little voice. And that was it.

Well, over the next couple of weeks she started getting more and more tired all the time. She had a few radiation treatments, but then it started to get too hard to make the trips to the doctor so it was time to call hospice. That was just a few days ago.

Today we got the call that it’s almost time. She is too tired to eat or drink. She is only awake a few hours in the day. She can’t get up. She can’t talk. She is just so tired. In a few days (maybe more, maybe less) my grandma will pass on. It’s a bitter sweet situation.

When someone asks how I am doing, the word ‘sad’ is the first one that comes to mind. But of all the emotions I’m feeling, ‘happy’ is the strongest. How happy it must be to know you get to see your husband and little daughter and parents again. How happy it would feel to not hurt anymore. How happy will it be to know you did it. Your test on earth is over and you can finally graduate. I am happy that she has lived such an amazing life and very soon, she gets to go home.

Home. Is there a sweeter word? It should be such a happy time, but the other day I had a minor meltdown. I had so many emotions going on and it was a hard day. My dear sweet husband helped clarify that it’s a happy time. He said that grandpa probably showed up in his square dancing clothes and finally convinced grandma to go on a date with him on the other side. Soon she’ll be hanging out with grandpa and Sharon (her little girl she hasn’t seen in 60 years) and her sister and everyone else up there. Right now when she is sleeping she is talking with grandpa and working out the details. Then when she passes she will go straight to paradise where a welcoming party will be there ready to play 10,000 with her. Grandpa will make sure she’s treated like the queen of the party. After the party is over she’ll say “is there a storehouse around here?” (Grandma worked at the Bishop’s Storehouse for years and years). And she’ll get to work putting things “side by each” (a phrase she says).

If you ask me she’s pretty lucky that she gets to go to paradise soon and be with her man. Imagine that. Being in paradise with the one who holds your heart. I can’t think of anything better than that. It makes it not so sad when you see it from her shoes (or The Man’s version of her shoes).

I love my Grandma. She is one in a million. Heaven is going to be a little brighter with her there.



One thought on “Going home

  1. Marilyn Tobiasson

    Annette, this is an amazing reflection of your love for your sweet grandma. You have such a gift of expressing the inner most thoughts and feelings of the heart. As I read it today, almost 5 months after her passing, I was taken back to some of those same feelings I had at the time. But most if all I felt a reassurance of peace that all is well and mom is truly in a heavenly place with those she loves….and that sounds like HOME to me too!


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