my sunshine

Oh, how I love my grandma. She has quite the personality. Always pretty silly, always opinionated, and always quick to say “I love you” and “I miss you”.

She is a special and incredibly strong woman.

She proved that one last time this past week in her last few hours on this earth. With her family surrounding her and holding her hand, she hung in, lucid for a very long time, and made sure she said to all of us one more time, “I love you”.

Last weekend I found out that Grams was going into surgery for a perforated bowel. (Seems like all the gals in my moms family have issues with their bowels- I need to watch out for that. Uk.) She seemed to get out of the surgery pretty well and I got a great picture of her smiling with my Aunt Debbie not long after. Then Tuesday morning she had a massive heart attack. It all went downhill from there.

I got the call Wednesday morning that it didn’t look good. I found a flight and headed out with Autumn later that afternoon (since I really wanted Grams to meet her so-far only great-granddaughter) and arrived in Buffalo around 6pm. We went straight to the hospital to be with her.

That night Grams was obviously hurting, but was completely with it. She talked with us about lots of things (even though she was struggling with the oxygen mask obstructing her mouth). We chatted about how she’s been to Hawaii 7 times, memories in the Adirondacks among other happy thoughts.

Then we went home and said we’d see her in the morning. She seemed happy with that.

Thursday morning rolled around and things began to go downhill. She was still with it, but seemed to have a harder time talking and conversing. Her breathing was labored, and she seemed quite tired. It was at that point when people said to her that it was okay for her to go.

I honestly couldn’t say that. I selfishly wanted her with me. I wanted her to meet Autumn (who they wouldn’t ever let in the ICU, so Grams never met her) and I wanted to have more afternoon drinks with her in the cabin in the Adirondacks. I couldn’t at that moment let my Grams go.

After lunch she pretty much stopped waking up. She was tired. But she was stubborn. She took a long time to let go. But I made sure that right before she passed, I sang to her. You see, ever since my dad has known my grandma, he has called her “sunshine”. She loves that nickname so much that when River was born she bought him a music box that played “you are my sunshine”. So I felt at that moment that it was fitting for her to hear that song before she left this world.

“You are my sunshine,
my only sunshine.
You make me happy
when skies are gray.
You’ll never know dear
how much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

We were all with her when she passed. I have never experienced anything like that. Not sure if I ever want to again. But I do know, that someday when I am old and gray, I hope that I have my family surrounding me with love when I move on. Although Grandma struggled with her body those last few days, I truly believe that she felt at peace when she left this earth because she was surrounded with absolute and complete love.

{and quite a bit of wailing, but you know she may have even appreciated that a little too}

Grandma Pat lived almost 85 good years. She was a nurse. She was a mother of 3 girls. Grandmother to 4 grandkids, and great-grandmother to 3 babes with many more to come. She was married to Gramps for almost 62 years. Talking to her friends and family and handing out advice when asked made her happy. She loved Ted’s hot dogs, bourbon on the rocks, naps on the “Davenport” (aka: couch), she loved to read, the summertime when grandpa cooked steaks on the grill, family vacations, and being with her family and friends. Her smile emanated sunshine, and her personality was spunky and many times silly. She had a presence and respect from all who knew and loved her. All of which is going to be missed.

I was blessed to have her in all my 33 years of life. She really was my (and many others), “Sunshine”.


4 thoughts on “my sunshine

  1. We will love and miss you so much grams. Thank you for this reflection Erin.we look forward to celebrating her with everyone next weekend.

  2. I just now got the chance to read this post and once again Erin, nice work. Although we all experienced much of the same moments as Mom stepped out of this world, I couldn’t put into words all that I have been feeling. So thank you Erin for bringing to light those intimate moments with Mom.

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