I’m struggling to find words to write this post today, although I’ve been meaning to sit down and do so for nearly a week now. I’ve been wanting to do so in part because I realize over the last week or so my posts have gotten sporadic at best and also, in part, because my grandmother has long been my number one fan. Now well into her 80s, she has been a daily reader since my very first posts back in 2008, but long before that she was my first editor and first sounding board when I’d bring her my short stories and novellas to read as a little girl. (Always by way of the white wicker basket on my bike. Always.) With that in mind, it doesn’t seem right not to acknowledge that right now, even as I type, my life and that of my family as a whole is in the process of changing forever.
Someday I am going to find really wonderful, prolific and meaningful words to share with you more about my grandmother. For now I will say simply that she is a fighter. After battling rheumatic fever and being bedridden for a year in her teens, she went on to have eight children, twenty-four grandchildren, twenty-seven great grandchildren and counting. All of this while running a farm, pursuing her passion for writing (she has been published many times over), and remembering every single birthday and anniversary for all of us along the way. Throughout the years, the damage to her heart from the rheumatic fever has come back to haunt her and the doctors have counted her out time and time again. We’ve been amazed dozens of time to see her battle back from the very brink of life and continue to keep us all in check with her no-nonsense advice and her quick wit.
Today I write from my grandmother’s desk, where she has logged countless hours writing herself. Two rooms over, she’s continuing to keep us all in line with her lists and her instructions as we prepare to say goodbye. This time she’s not coming back from the brink, which is something we’re struggling to make peace with, even though she has been at peace with that knowledge for a while now. Hospice is in and out every day and I have been here every day, too, doing what I can to help keep her comfortable and to provide a bit of relief for my dad and all his siblings right now. Somehow fetching her water, giving her pain medication, sitting with her and reading to her, and making sure my grandfather has been fed because she can no longer do it, well, it’s giving me the peace I need to know I’ve done everything I can to honor the woman who has meant so much to so many.
Out of respect for my family and everyone’s privacy right now, I’m not going to get into things in much more detail at the moment. Also, out of respect for myself and my business and all of you, at the same time I’m going to try to keep things as close to business as usual as possible to whatever extent I possibly can. Frankly, she’d kick my ass if she thought I was doing anything different. That said, some days I might not be able to post. Other days I may be posting here and on social media as if all is right in the world. Because in your world, I hope it is, even though in my world it’s very definitely not. This is one of those life changing times where I can feel the ground shifting under my feet and the sky rearranging itself just as if the earth were actually moving to accommodate what will be a tremendous loss. I wish you could know my grandmother. I think you’d all really like her. I’m told she could drink whiskey with the best of them back in the day. I tend to think that makes her pretty damn awesome.
For now this is where I’m going to leave things. There is so much more to say at another time, but my heart can’t go there yet. Knowing that these last few posts are the only ones she has never read and that she will in all likelihood never be reading again is one of those very strange things that marks the end of an era for me and I’ve just got all of that to deal with before I can get to a point where I can deal with anything else. Thank you in advance for all of your love and support! It means the world. I’m so grateful to have this flexibility in my schedule to be able to spend these last days by her side and I owe that to all of you. xoxoxo