Life's Changes Ch. 01byEmeraldKitten©
So what now?
The world has changed. Nothing will ever be how it was.
Traditions, holidays, birthdays, and just those good ole lazy days, will never again be the same.
I grew up out at my great-grandmother's house. Until I was seven, it was the place I called home.
In the movie, 'Where The Heart Is", one character says, "Home is where they catch you, when you fall."
I believe that whole-heartedly. That old farm caught me when I fell many times.
I remember going out there to soul search. I'd pick a pretty, warm, sunny day and go for a walk. I'd think about life, what I'd accomplished already, and what I hoped to accomplish in the future.
I debated over life-altering decisions. To go to Cosmetology school, or to find something else. To keep working at McDonald's, or move on to the salon and do hair. To confront my dad or to let it sit, pretending everything was all right.
Those are some of the things I thought about while I strolled through the open plots of land way out in the country. I made my choices while the wind whispered though the trees, the sun fell upon my head, and the birds sang along to the flow of my thoughts.
I used to take a blanket and a book, and lay under and in between a cluster of Pine trees. On my back, I watched the clouds blow past through the needles of the tree.
I could be me there. Without people, phones, or any other sort of disturbance. Those were the lazy days of summer, spring, and fall.
Mowing was another of my favorite summertime activities. Out there for a good six hours with nothing more than the sun and the hum of the mower. That was also a time to reflect on life. I planned, I laughed, and I worried while I bounced along the uneven ground.
If the weather was bad, or if it was just too hot to be comfortable outside, I'd spend the day watching television with Greatma. We'd talk while she sewed, or read the paper, or watched the soap operas. She liked the soaps, but she liked hearing about how I was, and about what I was thinking even more.
When I was still in school, Greatma regularly inquired about what I was learning. It was special because I know she really cared, and was genuinely interested.
Talking with Greatma was a definite perk of going out there. She'd offer advice, or have a word of wisdom, or even a joke for absolutely anything. She never offered her advice unless you asked though. She was quiet in that regard, but you knew that the minute she opened her mouth, you'd better set it in stone.
I wish, now that she's gone, that I would have cherished the time more.
I wish I would have cared to learn how to sew a little more.
I wish I would have spent more hours in the kitchen with her.
I wish this past Christmas, that I would have made a Hickory Nut Cake.
I wish I would have gone to visit her while she was in the nursing home.
I wish I could have know that our time was growing short. It just goes to show that you cannot take one single second for granted.
The day before she passed, we went to see her at the assisted living home. Greatma looked at me and her eyes lit up. When I leaned in to hug her, she said, "I'm so glad to see you."
She meant that sentence with her whole heart. She was in so much pain, and she was so miserable because she wasn't at her real home, but still she joked and smiled. Through her spells of crying at the pain, and in self-pity, she still smiled. The love in the room was so thick you could have actually touched it.
Later that day, we went back. When we were leaving, my mom gave her a hug, they said their 'I love you's, and Greatma said, "Where's Danielle?"
I literally felt my heart swell. She wanted to know I was there, and wanted to make sure she got to talk to me.
My mom stepped out of the way, and I filled the emptied space. The room was dark, but I could still see her eyes. She said, "I'm so glad you came to see me." I told her I was too. She smiled then, and my eyes filled with tears.
I hugged her and kissed her, holding onto her hand for an extra minute. At that point I didn't know that would be the last time we talked, but I'm glad that that was how it went.
That night, we decided we'd bring her home. It was late, so it would have to wait until morning. I wasn't sure the sun was going to rise that Thursday morning, but it dawned sunny and clear.
My aunt hit the phones, setting up an appointment to get twenty-four hour care. She then headed for the assisted living home, only to get there and find that they were taking Greatma to the Emergency Room again.
In the meantime, my mom and I hit the road, and set about getting Greatma's room ready. We lugged stuff out, brought stuff back in, rearranged, cleaned, the works. We got the hospital bed set up, only to realize it was backwards. So we switched the headboard and footboard, promptly deciding we were geniuses.
We'd heard from our aunt a few minutes before, and she said that Greatma's situation wasn't great, but it wasn't going to be today. Whew... we didn't have to keep rushing. Then, something in my head clicked, and I knew we needed to get finished up. I grabbed the mattress and was manhandling it to the bed.
The phone rang, and I froze. The mattress slipped from my hands and I lunged for the phone. My aunt said, "You guys need to get here."
I said, "Now?"
She replied, "Right now."
I hung up and just gave my mom a look. We yelled for my grandma, and loaded into my car. We flew to the hospital, but it felt like it took an hour to get there. We prayed we'd make it in time. We did.
We were there for about an hour, and most of the family had made it in. We circled the bed in the Emergency Room, and waited.
Greatma was out of it.. Unconscious. We all talked to her, stroked her hands and face and legs, trying to comfort her or ourselves, I'm still not sure.
Her mouth hung open as she labored to breathe, and we counted down the minutes.
A nurse came in and removed the heart monitor from her finger, and lowered the rails on either side of the bed. My mom muttered a line from one of Greatma's favorite songs... "Don't fence me in.."
Slowly, her mouth began to shut. We all watched in awe, still waiting.
Finally, it closed completely, and her lips turned from gray to a beautiful shade of pink.
At 12:14, she drew her last breath, and left us behind. ~*~ Yesterday was a hard day for some reason. I was teary a lot, and my mom had brought a couple boxes of stuff home. It was the silliest thing~ I opened a tin full of squares of fabric, and tears fell from my lashes into the tin, splashing the sloppily sewn material.
I went and covered up with the blanket we made together, and laughed through my tears at the mistakes. Mistakes I'd made when I was twelve, but that Greatma said didn't matter because that's what made it unique.
I look around my room, and in almost every corner there's something she made.
The old farm will more than likely sell, my grandma will move, and my childhood home and playground will be no more. I won't be able to go soul searching. I won't be able to head to the country for a bonfire/weenie roast. I won't be able to visit Greatma while she sews, and take long baths for her to ask, "Bathing again?"
"Home is where they catch you, when you fall." I still believe that. That home won't be there much longer.
But, without Greatma there, I don't think it could catch me anyway.