Sunday, November 16, 2008
Pauline VandeMortel: Nov. 3, 1924 - Nov. 6, 2008
At 6am last Thursday my grandmother exhaled for the last time. My mother called me around 8am and I immediately packed my bags and headed for home. My brother got on the first plane back. Everything from that moment on is a blur of tears.
A close friend encouraged me to make use of my tears. He said, so much has happened and you've been through so much let it all out. When you cry, cry for everything. I tried to, but I don't think its all out yet. The pain is out there, waiting for me. I brush against it without knowing and it takes my breath away. I can't move past how much I miss her.
There was an open casket for the family at the viewing hours. When I walked up to her side I saw she was holding one of my pillows. At the age of 9 or so, I was obsessed with making these little pillows. Grammie loved them but it had been so many years I had long forgotten about it. Seeing the small rumpled pillow underneath her small hands broke my heart.
We went through her things, I took some small tokens. A nightgown, a pin, some sweaters and a small picture she had bought at a garage sale that seemed to sum her up. "A giggle a day keeps the glums away." Most importantly a ring. My mother put it on a chain for me to wear, the band had worn so thin, and I haven't taken it off since. My grandfather bought it for her before they were married, almost 70 years ago. They would've celebrated their 64th anniversary this December.
Grammie was a fighter. She had a hard time growing up, harder than most but she always saw the glass half full. And so I try to fight too. Life keeps testing me and its getting harder to stay positive, but I'll try, for her. It's what she would've wanted me to do.