For 34 wonderful years, I had my amazing Grandmother in my life. How lucky was I? On Sunday, August 23rd, she passed away peacefully. Jeannette Johnson was 96. Yep, 96. And she lived a great, healthy (not a single surgery!) long life until Alzheimer's stripped that away. Thankfully we have modern medicine that helped prolong the inevitable. But it was still hard. For the past 4 years we have been slowly saying goodbye.
I was blessed to spend time in the hospital with her before she died. She didn't know who I was or understand what I was saying, but I did. I just held her hand, touched her soft face, told her how much I loved her and what an amazing grandmother she was to me. She didn't talk or make facial expressions, but when I said my last goodbye I kissed her cheek and gave the longest hug possible, she tilted her head toward me and lifted up the shoulder I was resting my head on. I will never forget that.
Things I will forever remember about her: making an entire batch of banana pudding (my favorite) for me. No one else. And she told me I didn't have to share either. Having tea parties with me and Meredith with Kool-Aid to drink. Having candy in her purse for me during the many musicals, plays, operas, and symphonies she and my Granddad took us to...I think she strategically gave them to me in the middle to wake me up. Teaching me how to cross-stitch. Her amazing cooking (she didn't know how to boil water when she got married). Her smile that lit up a room. Seeing the way she looked at my Granddad so lovingly, even after 65 years of marriage. Hearing her sing in church. Lying in bed with me until I finally fell asleep for my nap.
I could go on and on. I know that no one lives forever. I know that everyone dies. But it is still not easy to let go. What gives me a smile is knowing she is in heaven dancing with my Granddad.