After a long week full of a bunch of hard stuff, my grandmother's husband died Friday evening at the hospice care center. What a wonderful place that is. And what a wonderful blessing it was for everyone that he got to spend his last days there, being cared for by the most compassionate nurses I have ever met.
I spent Friday evening at the care center with my grandmother, just the two of us. We made preparations for his body and packed their things and sat around and talked and had a candle lighting ceremony in the care center's living room and cried and hugged and cried and hugged some more. Around 10:30 the funeral home called to say they would be coming soon for his body. My grandmother decided she was ready to go home and so I held her hand and led her out into the cold darkness.
That's sounds so melodramatic, but it's true. It was freezing cold and very dark when we left and somehow that seemed exactly as it should be.
I took her home and brought her things in and helped her decide what to do with the hospital bed and wheelchair and other medical equipment that still littered the living room. Repeatedly I offered to stay with her so she didn't have to be alone but she was ready to do just that - be alone and begin to deal with things. I learned we are both private grievers and also that we both like to order and control what we can around us when our hearts are broken. She was looking forward to piddling around her house, cleaning up and putting it back together. We talked about how nice a well kept sock drawer is in a time of grief.
Saturday morning before embarking on the errands and phone calls and other assorted duties bestowed upon me, I broke the news to L. Gently I explained that her grandpa had died, that his body was very old and tired and that he is now in heaven with Jesus and with Micah. Her reaction was not at all what I was expecting - she didn't cry, just sat for a few moments and then said "I'm glad nobody died in somebody's belly. That is a lot sad but this is just a little sad. I know what will cheer everybody up, make us happy again, candy!" After telling her that she could have a piece of candy after breakfast she went about doing something else that would make us all feel better. She got her Libby Bear (the bear she picked out after Micah died to hold when she feels sad about him) and gave hubby her little lamb (my mother gave this to her at Micah's funeral) and got my special bear for me and we all sat on my bed and hugged stuffed animals for a few minutes.
She will not admit to even feeling sad. She insists she is not. I have not belabored the point, but have offered it up as a discussion topic a few times, each time being told that she isn't sad at all. But I know she is. She has accidentally said her grandfather's name a few times when talking about somebody else and she is displaying many of the same behaviors she displayed after Micah died, although on a much smaller scale. She wants the lights on at night, she wants me and hubby to both be with her all the time, she is having an extremely hard time falling asleep, she has been having breakdowns over anything and everything.
When I am finished posting this I need to get myself ready and then as soon as L wakes from her nap I will drag her out of bed, quickly get her dressed and haul downtown to the funeral home for the family visitation and viewing. We spent all morning at the mall with my mom trying to find coats and scarves and gloves for everybody since we Floridians don't normally hang outside much during this time of year. But, the burial is graveside and it is supposed to be very cold and windy tomorrow and so coat shopping we did go. These past two weeks have been so crazy busy with everything going on and all the errands and all the phone calls and all the care-tending and visiting and what not that I am exhausted. So is L.
I'm not sure what to do about the services tomorrow. There is a family luncheon at exactly her usual naptime, followed by the funeral and then the burial. Of course I want her to attend and logistically there is no way for her to skip the luncheon but also be in attendance at the other events, so I guess I will be dragging an already tired and emotional child around for a long day of mourning her grandfather which will start precisely when she will want to go to sleep. Wish me luck.