Just a few short weeks after spending Christmas in Florida with my grandmother, who had esophogeal cancer, my mother called me one evening, stressed. Grandma was getting worse, and Mom feared the end was in sight. She asked me if I wanted to come down for the pending funeral, if my spouse was available to watch the kids. D had already decided to take the winter off from his normal winter-time temporary job, since he barely saw his now 6-month-old baby girl for the first several months of her life, and wanted to spend some time with her. He told me to go.
After hearing about what Grandma was going through, and the stress my mother and uncle were under, I simply sat on the toilet and cried, praying to God to please end my grandmother's suffering soon.
The next morning, I got the call Grandma had passed away. Dad was on his way to collect me, so would I please be ready in an hour? I threw a bag together and when Dad arrived, we caught a flight back to Florida.
I'm somewhat ashamed to say I enjoyed the first four days of that trip. I didn't have any 'mommy' responsibilities, so my sister and I ran errands for Mom, went shopping, fielded phone calls, and revisited many of our favorite childhood restaurants, including Crabby Bill's with the entire extended family. We also spent one wonderful day going through Grandma's closet and dresser, laughing over the many broken gold choker chains found in every drawer, and the many bottles of Primo body spray. We picked out what we wanted to keep, and my aunt picked out mementos for our cousins, who were not there because of being in school.
Meeting with the pastor was both fun and tearful, as we recalled stories about Grandma for him to use at the funeral. When food began pouring in, W and I joked about when the green jello salad was going to appear, and my grandmother's friends didn't disappoint, ha ha!
It was also during this time I wondered if my father had developed sleep apnea. The first night, neither W or I wanted to sleep in Grandma's bed. We knew she hadn't passed away in it, but the hospital bed which had been removed, but the memories of her occupying that room were too fresh. She and I slept downstairs on the floor, while our dad slept on the couch. Night #2, W moved upstairs, but I stayed downstairs....and noticed my father would snore, then be silent...he'd snort, roll over, then the pattern would begin again. I told Mom about it, and she said she'd talk to him once everything in Florida was settled.
The day before the funeral (I THINK), W and I arrived from an errand to find our old childhood friend KB, his wife D, and their newborn daughter, C at the townhouse, talking to Mom. I hadn't seen KB since his sister's wedding four years earlier, so it was nice to meet D and baby C. I joked I wished I could read K's reunion 'memory book', since we'd gone to different high schools, and it would be interesting to see who among our old class ever dropped out, got pregnant, got their act together, etc. Yes, I was still a little vengeful about some girls from jr. high.
The day of the funeral, I was a wreck. Before heading to the church (Grandma had been cremated, so we gathered at her church), our family gathered and prayed together, but I couldn't get through mine. During the service, I broke down during "How Great Thou Art", and all of a sudden, I felt my sister nudging me and hissing at me to 'stop it'. WTH????? I was in tears, and yes, my nose runs, so I was blowing it a lot. I tried to hold it in and control it a little better, but I was really confused.
I did better at the reception, and discovered I LOVED cucumber sandwiches. What I was NOT thrilled to discover was, afterwards I had an hour to pack before my departure flight. Dad was staying behind a few more days. I was angry, but left anyway. I was even less than thrilled to discover my seat was in a full row, while the next row up had two empty seats. I asked the flight attendant if I could move up, and she said after take off, if they weren't taken. But as the plane began to taxi, I moved up anyway, and spent the entire flight looking out the window and crying.
A week later, I was thrilled to learn I was getting another momento of Grandma's, her car. We were driving a two-door Ford Escort, and Grandma's Chevy Celebrity was only two years old. My Uncle Ed had gone to bat for me, saying we needed a four-door car worse than my single cousin, who didn't even attend the funeral. We would get it sometime in the coming months, after Mom settled everything.
The rest of that month passed, with me growing increasingly irritated with a spouse who was constantly around all the time.
Next Month: Snap Decision
I sent Niko's book to the publisher! Now to tackle the next project, promo for our upcoming Hotel Stories Anthology. I should have a finished proof copy in my hands next week:)
Tomorrow's Karaoke Songs:
How You Remind Me-Nickelback
Hungry Eyes-Eric Carmen
Hot Stuff-Donna Summer