Warning: This is kind of a long post...but it's helping me to just process everything that happened over this past week!
My Grandma Eunice has been failing for the last few years. Over the past few weeks, it was clear that her time with us was coming to an end and we were going to be saying goodbye sooner rather than later. In late April, she was complaining of a headache so my Mom took her in to see the doctor. They were told that she was looking at days to weeks left to live at that point. Grandma was 86 years old and knows Jesus, so hearing that news was a little easier knowing that this goodbye was not the end. She has also yearned for death (I know, that sounds terrible...but it's true), so you have a hard time willing her to stay on earth when she so desperately desires to be in Heaven. That day I told her goodbye over the phone (bawling in my office at work) and expected a phone call telling me that she had passed away. She, being the stubborn Wisdom that she is, rallied over that weekend and seemed to be making a turn back for the better. The next week she ate for the last time on Monday (this was April 29th). The rest of that week, her breathing became more labored, she didn't eat, and after Wednesday, didn't drink either. We started to contemplate if we should go home sooner rather than later, knowing I might be able to see her before she passed away, but also knowing there was a risk that she could somehow come around again, so we would not be able to be there for a funeral. On Thursday (May 2nd), I got everything prepared at work in case I would not be there to give my final exams - thankfully I have a really good Graduate Assistant who I trusted to handle them for me. We also set everything out to pack quickly if we got news and prayed about whether or not we should go before receiving any official word of her passing.
I spent most of the day Friday going back and forth about whether or not we should go...should just Evelyn and I go - because I was freed up from work and we could?...will Dan come with us - but he would have to miss work at a job he's fairly new at, and I was asking him to leave not really knowing when we'd be back. I sat on our bathroom floor for about an hour texting my sisters and Dan, and talking to my Mom on the phone, trying to figure out what to do.
Evelyn grabbed her phone and made some calls to help me out...
We scored on Southwest, getting the full row to ourselves, even though Evelyn was a lap child!
Beautiful Broncos sunset as we were flying into Denver
This was my favorite...I can just hear my Grandma saying this!
(Dale is my Grandad...I never knew him because he passed away before I was born)
Seriously, Dan is amazing. I can't believe that he so selflessly left work, not knowing at all how long we would be gone, and then pulled almost full-time Daddy duty for 5 days. There were a couple of days where I was gone most of the afternoon, came home for dinner and bedtime, then went back up to the nursing home until after midnight. Never once did he complain, and I know it wasn't easy. I, apparently, was not a very good bed-sharer either. We have a king bed, but sleep in a queen at my Mom & Dad's...and most nights, he ended up on the pull out couch in the other room so I could sleep in the comfortable bed and get some rest. He blesses me so much. I left this difficult week with a new appreciation for him and gratitude for having him to walk through this life with. He also kept me smiling at the nursing home by sending pictures like these...
Our little musician
Onto the keyboards...
The best part of sleeping at my parents, is waking up with this face smiling at you...
One of the afternoons at the nursing home, Dad apparently needed a little nap. Being the daughters that we are, we had to take a picture. :-)
We took the kids to the park one afternoon...ah, Colorado weather, I miss you so!
Evelyn and Kolbe (8 months) swinging together
She loved all the slides at this park!
And I got my Mom of the Year Award wrapped up!
(I thought Dan was coming down with her...)
Mom, do I have something on my face?
The next day, shortly after lunch, she passed away. No one from our family was in the room, my cousin had just left, one of the nursing home nurses was the only one to see her go. Fitting - my Grandma got exactly what she wanted. My Dad and his siblings agreed to hold the funeral as soon as possible so we could all get back to life as normal (us in Texas, my sister in Missouri, my uncle in west Colorado, and everyone else just in general). I spent most of that night and the next day putting together a slide show/music video for her funeral. Again, Dan was a rock star and played single-Dad so I could finish that in time.
Waking up Daddy!
Playing with her cousins (probably Evelyn's favorite part of the trip!)
Watching a movie on the iPad with the youngest cousins
My sisters and I at the funeral
This was the "grandchild and great-grandchild wreath" for her grave site.
All of the pallbearers!
(Notice who is serious, and looking at the camera...the granddaughters!)
My sister and I were laughing as we were carrying the casket here because there were so many of us carrying it, that every step we took, my belly would bump into her back.
Evelyn enjoying her candy from Grandma Uni!
We also got a good 'ol Colorado thunderstorm
(I miss the smell of clean, sweet, Colorado rain!)
Loved watching this in the airport...
Daddy caught this picture on the last leg of our trip home...my sweet little girl(s)
A few last pictures...my favorites from the slide show.
This was my Grandma and Grandad the day he left for WWII.
I just love this picture!
My Grandma and I when I was probably around 2nd or 3rd grade
Grandma and Evelyn, the first time they met (July 2011, Evelyn was 2 months old)
These next three were all in October of 2011 (Evelyn was 5 months old)
We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
Because we know our goodbye is not the end
We can grieve with hope
Because we believe with hope
There's a place, where we'll see your face again
(Steven Curtis Chapman, With Hope)