Sometime last December we were talking about our summer trip to Utah, and Luke simply said, "Mom, we won't be going to see Gram." We went back and forth a few times, as I reminded him that yes we sure would see Gram, but I didn't know if we'd be staying with her. After the third time of "NO MOM, we are NOT going to see Gram in Utah!" I asked why. His response was silencing and a bit comical at the time: "Because Mom, Gram will be in the cemetery by then."
I don't know where that came from, and I don't assume that he actually had any insight other than Gram is old and old people die, but it turns out that boy was right.
Gram had struggled for a while, but didn't let us know much. She never wanted to cause worry and certainly didn't want a fuss being made over her. My mom had been up to Utah to check on her and could see how hard it was for Gram to do the most basic things. It took her over an hour to get dressed sometimes. Lots of things were hard. We just about had her convinced to come to California for a very long visit, but she got talked out of it.
So, Gram passed peacefully in her sleep. The best way to go, right?
But she had the worst timing! The funeral would have to be the same week Kristina was due to have baby Connor. Our house was about to go on the market. It was just a crazy time. My mom left immediately for Utah to begin making funeral arrangements and to assume the responsibilities of executor of the estate. Originally we planned for our whole family to drive, but after days of stress (both house and funeral related) it just made sense for me to fly by myself. As much as I would have loved to surround Nana with her little ones, I knew that being able to focus on just her and give help without distraction was the best option to take.
And poor Nana. She was the target of so much greed (and therefore unbelievable anger -- I mean it, you really wouldn't believe how bad it was) from folks who seemed far more interested in Gram's stuff than they did about all of the love she had selflessly given for decades. It was just heartbreaking to hear such mean things said about my Gram from people who claimed to love her and had just attended her funeral service. Losing your mama is hard enough, and my sweet mom had been taken through the ringer. She is one strong lady.
The funeral itself, however, could not have been sweeter. So many adoring sentiments were shared. I delivered Kristina's beautiful words that she wrote, and then shared some thoughts of my own. Gram would have been uncomfortable with the all the attention directed at her, but she is so deserving.
It just didn't seem right that Kristina wasn't there, so I burned up all of the data on my phone and face timed her in at the cemetery. And it was pretty great that I snuck in some Connor time too. Look at that cute boy smiling at his Auntie!
We spent the day after the funeral cleaning out and work, work, working. The stats on my watch tell a story of a day where I literally did not sit down or leave the house.
But I was so glad to be there! Helping, serving, and putting all of the energy you have into something is exactly how Gram operated. In her prime, she would have done it faster and more efficiently I'm sure, but it still felt good as I worked to think, "I can work this hard, because I'm Gram's girl, and she is a part of me."