I got a pleasant little surprise in my inbox a few minutes ago. Just a little note of validation for which I am extremely grateful. I think that we (“we” being the collective universe of bloggers) sometimes wonder if anyone really cares. We all have moments of self-doubt…am I boring? Does anybody really want to read about my stupid life? So sometimes finding out that, yes, someone does, can make your day. Thank you. 🙂
And for a complete change of direction…today, I want to write about January 21, 2001.
I had just moved to Buffalo the previous summer. Other than college, this was my first move away from home. I come from a very close family…meaning my extended family….grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. I hadn’t seen (or really talked to anyone but my parents) since Christmas. I had spent Saturday evening, the 20th, hanging out and catching up with an old friend from college. I got in around midnight, then hung out for a while with Jen and her then-boyfriend who were in the living room watching TV. I think we watched Iron Chef. I went to bed, probably close to 3.
A little before noon, the phone rang. I got up to answer it, which was kind of unusual. It was my dad, and it was obvious there was something wrong.
“Your grandma’s in the hospital.”
I didn’t know which grandma he meant. Neither of them was sick.
Grandma Angie, my mother’s mother, had collapsed in her bedroom Saturday night after complaining of a headache. A blood vessel had burst in her brain. She was in a coma, and wasn’t expected to come out of it. I told my father I was coming home, assured him that I was okay to drive. I hastily packed a bag and explained to my roommates that I had to go home. I didn’t take a shower. I asked Jen if I could borrow some CDs for the trip.
I cried for the entire two and a half hour drive.
I’m the oldest grandchild on both sides of my family. Not to give the impression that I don’t love my other grandparents, because I do, but I had a special relationship with my mom’s parents. I spent the night there frequently when I was young. Angie was the grandma I baked cookies with, the one who made the world’s best pies and homemade bread. She was the one who told me stories and sang me to sleep.
She was only 77. She was supposed to see me get married.
Her name was Angelina, which she never liked, and I never understood why. But she was always Angie.
I got to the hospital, where everyone was waiting. When I got there, a priest was praying the rosary in her hospital room. It was obvious, then…not that there was any life left in her at this point. She was already gone.
Thankfully, my mom and her brothers and sisters were spared the agony of having to decide whether or not to take her off the respirator. She went on her own, and we stood there, holding each other and crying.
My grandma collected angels. Angel figurines of all different types. Grandpa keeps her “angel table” up in the house.
I had never lost anyone very close to me before. A couple of great aunts. My great-grandparents on my father’s side. This was my first real confrontation with death.
I still miss her. We all do…
And on a happier note, I make note of this now because it is unlikely that I will be blogging tomorrow…tomorrow it is six months since R and I officially met. I am still amazed by him each and every day. R, thank you for answering my initial message, for “bravely showing up” at Brew Pub to meet me, and for being the smartest, kindest, most thoughtful, affectionate and sweet man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. 🙂