She landed in the hospital a few days ago from a nasty case of pneumonia she just couldn't shake. Her lungs filled up with fluid, and off to the ICU she went. Nonnie was on a respirator and her body just couldn't take any more. I don't know any of the last details right now. I hope that she was asleep and peacefully dreaming.
It's funny how we never see our parents and grandparents as real people until we're adults. Then, we're always surprised to find that they've had lives and experiences we knew nothing about.
When my grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary several years back, I had a clock engraved for them commemorate the event. It ended up being a late gift because I discovered that no one knew my grandparents' real wedding date.
It seems the sly couple had snuck off and gotten married about a month before the real wedding. I was shocked! I couldn't believe my sweet, tiny, white haired grandmother had done such a thing.
When T and I visited a few years ago (pre-baby), I had her drag all the photo albums out and show me people and places I'd never cared to hear about as a child. I was struck by how young and beautiful she was as a new bride. I looked at her happy smile in the photos, and her wistful gaze as we paged through her albums, and I realized something. Oh yes! My grandmother would definitely have snuck off to get married. It made her that much more interesting and special.
Over the last few years, as H&H came along and I got caught up in work and my life, I haven't been as good about calling Nonnie or sending her photos. A few years ago she and Poppy got internet access, so I know she saw pictures of the boys on a regular basis. But still, I know how much she loved to get my all too infrequent calls.
My father was already on his way to Louisiana when we got the news this morning. I've been calmly making arrangements to fly down on Thursday and I was amazed at how well I was holding it together, despite the loss of my sweet, sweet Nonnie.
The damn broke this afternoon when I read a post by Amie at Mamma Loves about her grandmother and why she always told Amie she loved her. The long and short of it is, we never know if we're going to get the chance to say "I love you" one last time. So we should say it as often as we can.
I didn't get the chance to tell my Nonnie "I love you" one last time.
So I guess this is my chance. If there is a God, a heaven, or an afterlife, I'm sure Nonnie knows how much I loved her. How I wish I'd been able to see her more often. How I wish I'd stepped out of my life for a moment and called her more often.
How I wish she'd had the chance to meet Holden and to see H&H together. As the mother of three boys, I know she would have loved that. I know she would have loved to watch me, her only granddaughter, in my new role as mom to two boys. She often joked about how if I tried for a girl, I would definitely have three boys. That's exactly what happened to her!
I'll wallow in regret for today, but then I'll try not to do so. I'll try to live my life and remember her every day. I'll remember her patience with me and the way she would play card game after card game with me, endlessly, when I was little. I'll remember how she would whisper in my ear, "Let's go Visa Poppy," and whisk me off for some clandestine shopping. I'll remember her hugs and her soft Southern drawl.
I'll remember her perfume.
I love you, Nonnie. I'll miss you so much.