This year seemed harder then years past. I’m sure that is because this year, Easter fell on March 31st, and the same thing happened the year she died.
That Sunday, 11 years ago, I slept over night in the ICU. She had a staff infection, so we couldnt’ touch her with our hands. We needed to have gloves. I remember that the Aunts (aka her daughters, and my mother) had been taking turns staying overnight incase something happened. They didn’t want her to be alone when she died. She’d been living alone for many years after my grandpa left her, and thus why they didn’t want her to die alone.
This weekend was Easter, and the year before, we had her, and her ex-husband, my grandfather, together for the very first time in my life. They split when my parents got married, and I wasn’t born yet. Now, my Grandpa was mentally pretty gone, but she knew he was there, and she cared for him like no time had past. She cared like it hadn’t mattered that he’d left her after cheating on her. He’d left after 25 years of marriage. But, there she was. She took her own home made spegatti and made it into mush, so he could eat it. That memory sticks with me. She had this heart of gold.
Since it was Easter weekend, and the Aunts were tired from the bedside vigil, they asked the Grandkids to take turns at bedside. Mind you, the doctors had told us that she was basically gone. We were keeping her alive, and it was up to the Aunt’s as to when we were to turn off the machines, and let her go. So, Saturday night was my turn. The ICU was packed. Scary people, drug addicts screaming, sad families. The waiting room where I was to sleep was also packed with interesting comings and goings. I left around midnight. I went into her room, pulled two office chairs together, and tried to sleep.
I remember hearing someone screaming in the next room, waking up, and sitting beside her. I remember putting on gloves, being annoyed with the fact that I had to, and telling her I needed her to come back, telling her I wanted to have her for more time. I remember reciting the Our Father prayer, over and over again. She had taught it to me when I was a little girl. I remember begging God, to let some miracle happen or let her go. I also remember being angry the next day at Easter, because Joe wouldn’t come with me to the hospital. He didn’t understand what I was going through. He didn’t like hospitals.
Easter came and went with a numbing sort of feeling. Joe took the brunt of my pain, and soon Monday was here. I went to work, and during lunch, I was told I’d had a phone call. I called back to learn that the time had come. I called and told Joe where I’d be, and he offered to come. I declined him because I was already aware of how he felt about hospitals. I went, and on a snowy Monday, April 1st, I stood at the very head of her bed, next to my mother, and said goodbye to one of the loves of my life. I walked out of the room to see Joe standing there, hugging my Aunt, and waiting for me. I’ll never forget that he did that. It still gets me every time. At the time this song was gaining popularity, and it was very fitting. Still is.
My grandmother was Josephine. Or, Grandma Jo. Or, Jaws… was what her friends called her. She was one of the most beautiful souls to ever walk this earth. And, while the grief has passed, I miss her. so.damn.much. Especially this time of year.
The silver lining in this hard and sad story is that we named our daughter after her. Our daughter’s name is Josephine Catherine… After her great grandmother, and grandmother (my mom). When I think about them, together in heaven, I am comforted. I also know that Grandma Jo’s arms are full. She’s holding the babies I never got to hold. One in each arm. She’s loving on them, and watching over us. I thank her, for all the love she gave when she was here. 11 years has flown by, it seems like only yesterday I was sitting in her porch, playing cards, and having the time of my life.