Friday, February 15, 2008

My Grandmother and the lost shoe

Since I shared a story of my Grandfather yesterday, it's only fair you get to hear something about my grandmother today as I love and miss them both very much. My grandmother outlived my grandfather by almost 8 years, however in June of 2005 (wow, I can't believe it's been that long) she suffered a stroke in her home from which she would never recover. All of the doctors thought she would die that evening. She didn't, but she was never my "grandmother" again. The entire left side of her body was paralyzed and she lost most all memory and cognitive function...she couldn't talk or even write to get a thought out. She could interact with us as her care givers, but we aren't quite sure she understood we were "family" although she may have on occasion because sometimes when we had to bath her, change her, and groom her she would flush as if she was embarrassed. We always told her not to worry because she had seen the behind of everyone in this room too many times to count, and this was the least we could do after she raised 5 girls, 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren (that number has grown since then, but I digress). One time I brought my wedding album, since it was one month prior to her stroke, for her to look through because she was in a lot of pictures and I asked if she remembered that day....she just shook her head no. We always wondered what she did and didn't remember because she still looked longingly at the picture of my grandfather by her bedside. Maybe that is the power of true love, I'm not sure.

During all of this time (after her brief ICU stay immediately following the incident) my grandmother was in a nursing home. We had someone in our family with her every minute of the day, and I always visited her for hours on Friday nights. That is how DH and I spent our weekends that summer.....with my grandmother. Well one evening Thomas and I showed up and my aunt was there as well, so I started telling her the story of how I had lost my flip flop on the way to Greensboro because it flew out the window. DH and I hadn't laughed that hard in quite some time. Basically we were riding down the road, windows down, enjoying the day. Usually on longer car rides I take my shoes off and sit crossed-legged in the front see. Well, about half way there I look down and see a bee on my flip-flop. I'm allergic to bees so I wanted it out of the car as quickly as possible and decided I could just pick up my shoe and flick it out the big deal. So I proceeded to do so and as soon as a flicked it, the wind caught my shoe with such force it blew it out of my hand and onto the highway at about 60 miles an hour. DH said my face was absolutely priceless, I was stunned it happened for a minute and then we both laughed until we started crying. So as I am repeating this story both DH and I start laughing again as well as my aunt.....then right after I get to the part about the shoe my grandmother looks at me eyes wide, jaw dropped and starts to laugh in the only way she can figure out how. I will NEVER forget that was the last time I truly connected with her before she passed away about a month later. She took a drastic turn for the worst right after that, ended up back in the hospital and eventually passed away in her home, on hospice, with all of her family there. I will never forget that moment either....holding her hand while she died, peaceful yet sad.....but that face, that look of surprise....the moment of connection after so long....was absolutely beautiful.

Thank you God for my lost shoe.

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