Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My Grandmother Has Passed Away

For those in my readership who aren't in my family and therefore don't already know the news, my maternal grandmother passed away early this morning. She was 91.

Granny, as we called her (although there was some difference of opinion as to whether her title was to be spelled "Granny" or "Grannie"), was the last remaining of my grandparents.

She was, as grandmothers are supposed to be, immensely proud of her family and very interested in all the family news. We think that this is one of the things that kept her going so long; she wanted to know what's going to happen next in her family: which of her grandchildren was going to have a baby next? What mischief has this- or that- great-grandchild gotten into now? And it was nice for all of us to know that she was there, keeping an eye on us (even if from a distance). And she was full of stories about what everything was like when she was a young woman. Some of us feel that we know her ex-suitors pretty well by now. ;-)

She hadn't been in good health the last few years. It seemed as though she had one serious injury or illness every year for the last half-decade or so. One year it was a TIA; another year it was Diverticulitis; another year it was that she fell and broke her femur. Yet she always seemed to bounce back from these minor setbacks. She had an ornery streak a mile wide (which we all admired and loved about her), and the doctors would always say that she had the body or bones of a woman twenty years younger.

Well, she suffered a serious stroke about two weeks ago that left her with Aphasia. She suddenly was left without the ability to speak comprehensibly or (to our knowledge) to understand what anyone else was saying--with one important exception. She did have the ability to speak simple phrases so ingrained in her that they were complete thoughts in and of themselves--stock phrases, if you will, that she had used so much during her life that they were lodged much deeper in her brain than the mere speech centers. So it was that she was able to tell my mom and dad "I love you" a couple of days ago.

But there were signs that she was unable to recognize many of the people closest to her; and as I mentioned, her love for her family had been the big thing keeping her going. Although the doctors said shortly after her stroke that she was physically healthy (except for the specific damage that the stroke had done in her brain), she went downhill very quickly in the last few days.

The memorial service and funeral will be held later this week. My wife and kids and I will be heading down to Southern California on Thursday (in our borrowed SUV! That will be exciting). There's a major storm system moving into California on Thursday and Friday, so pray that everything goes well with all the traveling everyone will be doing. And pray that some of the mountain passes out of Southern California aren't completely snowed in when it comes time for us to drive back up north--or we're going to have a really, really long drive on Sunday. And I can't guarantee to any of my loyal readers that I'll have any time or inclination to do much blogging until we all get back safe and sound.

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