What a beautiful (snowy) day already in The Mitten. Donny the Dog is in and out; running around in the snow and then in for a warm up and then back out again. I'm enjoying my first cup of Starbuck's Holiday Blend of the season; soooooo good. And twice as good in my new Christmas cup. Our new flannel reindeer sheets arrived yesterday and I've tossed them into the washing machine so they will be fresh and soft tomorrow when we deck the halls right down to the beds.
The cranberry and coconut cream pies are ready to pack up and take to my parents' home later today. Mac's girl Susan is coming over at 11:00 to help with the sausage and dressing and roasted root vegetables that will round out our contribution. She and Mac made spinach pie last night for an appetizer; yum!
Yesterday marked six years since my Gramma passed from here to heaven, in this very house, in fact. Seems so long ago since that time when we spent her last days right here in her home with her. A true spiritual matriarch, she didn't leave us with wringing hands and stunning grief. No, there was a deep and sweet peacefulness in this little bungalow as she laid in bed, never really waking up during those final days. We took turns visiting with her; talking to her, singing softly, reading the Word of God she loved so much or just being quiet. I still see my sister and I, always in scrubs, as we came and went from work. My mom's brother came from out of state and her cousin from out of town to take turns around the clock; caring for my grandmother and one another.
On Thanksgiving Eve that year, it was just my mom and I here in the house with my gramma as we awaited her homegoing. My mom was, for reasons I do not fully understand, determined to make multiple mini fruitcake type bread things and had bought heaven knows how many mini loaf pans for the project. We sat at my gramma's kitchen table exhausted and downright punchy, giggling and mixing a giant bowl of this bread stuff and making tiny loaf after tiny loaf. Finally, exhausted with rows of mini loaves of bread cooling, it was time for bed. My mom was sleeping in my gramma's bed and my grandmother was in her hospital bed in the second room leaving me to choose the sofa bed or an extra bed in the basement. Knowing what that sofa bed was like from years of childhood sleep-overs, I chose the basement bed. As I said, we were exhausted and punchy and sort of hoping that Gramma would hold on until the day after Thanksgiving (well, it's true!) I stumbled down the basement stairs and had this thought, this idea, this not-quite-a-delusion...my grampa.
My grampa passed away years before my gramma. But in my mind, I could clearly imagine him there in the basement wearing a red sweater vest and saying, "Hello honey."
And I freaked out and ran back up the stairs and slept on the horrible sofa bed.
And this, friends, has become the lore and legend of the final days of my gramma's life. It really is a matter of her legacy, as ridiculous and undignified as it all was! Because we were already mourning her but, not like those without hope. We felt utterly complete in our relationship with her and in our knowledge of her eternity and in her warm and snug little house. There was room to be too tired, too silly and to laugh at the foolishness of my refusal to spend the night in the basement with my red sweater vested grampa (hello honey!) There were tender moments of hand-holding. There was the beginning of the good-byes a few weeks earlier when we realized she was in her final days and Mac carried her from her home to the hospital (I'll leave that story to my mom, it feels like it really belongs to her.)
Happy Thanksgiving, may your comings and goings be filled with sweet peace, joy and maybe even just a few utterly ridiculous and undignified snorting belly laughs. (Pic: Gramma and I in the infamous basement)