This story is about the unbreakable bond I have/had with my grandmother even as she lay dying fighting to stay alive until I made it home and even after her death. I hope you enjoy reading this and that it gives you some insight into the relationships we're able to have with one another.
I've always been a grandma's girl. She was everything to me, the one person who I never wanted to disappoint. It's not that I didn't care what my parent's thought about some of the things I did growing up but to disappoint my grandma "Mom" as I called her was unthinkable for me. I've spent so much of my life with her, I mean from the day I was born until the day my husband and I moved to Alaska, I was with her as much as I could be. Even when 4,000 miles separated us I called her every week sometimes more than once just so she knew she was always in my thoughts.
In January of this year my parent's had gone up to Alabama to visit her for a long weekend. She could no longer live in her house alone as she had Alzheimer's and even though it was in it's first stages she had become confused several times and we all felt it better that she go into assisted living. I had tried to reach my parent's all day so I could talk with my grandma and see how she was enjoying her weekend. Being over here in Germany there is a 7 hour time difference so I tried again later in the evening and still didn't get them. I got a feeling that something was wrong so I texted my cousin Jackie who lived not far from grandma and asked if she'd seen my parent's and she texted back CALL ME, and I just felt my stomach drop. I called her and she asked me if I'd talked to my parent's at all and I said no what's going on? She said that I needed to sit down, and then she told me that grandma had fallen and broken her hip. I felt sick. When an 85 year old person has this kind of injury it's usually not a promising end result.
She explained how it happened and that my mom and dad were at the hospital with her as well as my aunt and uncle. We talked for a while and I asked her to call her mom and let her know that I wanted to talk to one of my parent's and have one of them call me. My dad and I touched base and he said they'd keep me up to date.
Grandma's first week was hard she was in an enormous amount of pain. I got to talk to her one night and I told her to fight to get better so I could come home and we could go and do things together. She said she'd try as hard as she could. I had faith that she would recover she was tough.
I guess God had other plans for her. She fought it as long as her little body could. The week of February 20th was near the end. We all new that she was slipping away. The night of the 23rd I called and told my mom I had to speak to her if she was awake, and she was. I tried to hold back my tears and be strong for her, but it was so hard. She knew it was me and she asked me when was I coming home and I told her that I was working on getting a flight out for the 24th or 25th but I WOULD be there soon. I begged her to hold on until I could get there and she said she would. I told her how much I loved her and the last thing she said was I love you too honey. I could almost feel her arms around me hugging me as she said it. I didn't know those would be her last words to me.
I got a flight for the morning of the 25th. So the night of the 24th I was finishing packing and I was in my downstairs bathroom putting my shampoo and cosmetic bag together and all of a sudden I got a whiff of Eternity perfume. It was like it blew in with the wind. It was her favourite; she wore it all the time. I don't have any and I hadn't been packing my perfume yet so there was no way that scent's could've mixed. I know it was her. I didn't know that she would slip into a coma only a few hours later.
I slept maybe 2 hours that night, I was too on edge. My husband and kids drove me up to Frankfurt to the airport about an hour from our house. We had a little time to kill before my flight so we ate and my kids played in the airport for a while. Right after I had said my goodbyes to go through security I heard my name being called in a gentle whisper. She said Dee, my nickname that she always called me by. I know that she knew I was on my way. My cousin and aunt told her as she slipped into her coma that Dee's on her way mom just hold on a little longer. We're a very tight knit family and some would say I was grandma's favourite, I don't know but our bond was different than any others.
I had a 10 hour flight ahead of me and I was exhausted already. I think I slept about half the way over. I remember tracking my flight on the headrest screen and we were almost over Canada and I thought how much longer could she hang on? Was I selfish to ask her to fight it? I just hoped and prayed that she would be alive when I got to her side. When I had my layover in Atlanta I called my cousin Jackie to ask how grandma was and she said the same so I felt a little better and I would be in Birmingham within an hour.
When I got off in Alabama Jackie and my dad were waiting on me with open arms. My dad walked ahead of us and I asked Jackie how mom was and she said uncle Joe, so I knew she was gone. I told her to just tell me the truth and she said that mom passed about 6:30 that morning. I stood there stunned. They didn't want to tell me when I called from Atlanta so I wouldn't be upset on the plane. I understood. I didn't cry I just held it together.
The ride to grandma's house seemed like it would never end. I remember as I walked into the house I could still smell her scent even though she'd been living in assisted living for a while. I swear I heard her say Dee. I walked over to my mom and hugged her and stared to sob. I couldn't fight it anymore. I didn't see her until the night of the viewing. She looked like and angel more beautiful than I'd ever seen her. My cousin Julie did her hair and makeup and painted her nails. She looked perfect. I just didn't want to let her go. When they closed the lid to her casket a part of me went with her. It was pouring down rain outside, we couldn't even go with her to the cemetery. We all felt horrible about it we didn't want to leave her there alone in the rain. My heart just broke open and I think we all felt helpless. I still feel like a little girl lost without my grandma.
My parent's and me drove home to Florida 2 days after the funeral. I stayed in the house most of the time while they were at work. Jet lag finally got me and I was grieving as I never had before and all I wanted was to sleep.
Friday morning my friend Carol decided to get me out of the house and go shopping then have lunch since she hadn't seen me since the funeral and I was coming back to Germany the following week. I was sitting on my bed putting my makeup on when I happened to glance up and see a white mist that almost had the shape of a woman in dress float past my door and go down the hall to my mom and dad's room. I called out mom is that you? I didn't hear anything but deep down I knew it was her.
The morning I got back on the plane to come back to Germany I remember getting settled into my seat and racking out before the plane left the ground. When I woke up I heard the sound of beating wings in my right ear. I knew that she was watching over that flight guiding me back home to my husband and kids.
It's been just over 4 months now since she left this world and went on to the next. I've seen the woman in white "mist" twice since I've been back. I know she's always with me watching over my family. She's appeared like that to my mom's little sister once since her death. My aunt knows without a doubt that it was Mom who visited her and me since we both saw the same thing. It gives me some comfort to know that she's always by my side, but at the same time I just wish I could have her back.