Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Sunday morning, I was awoken by ringing. As my eyes blinked rapidly, straining for clarity, I realized that it was my cell phone. My eyes darted to clock. 4:46am. I'd been asleep for barely 3 hours. 

Why was someone calling me at 4:46 am?

The display lit up, and I saw the name Natalie. It was my cousin. It took a moment for it to register that it was my cousin, as we never talk on the phone, and I couldn't rationalize why she would be calling me. Unable to process in time, my phone stopped ringing. That's when I saw the message alert in the top left corner. 

It read: "FWD: Grandma went into cardiac arrest. She's in critical condition."

Time Stamp: 4:01am. 45 minutes earlier. 

I filled Dahvede in on what was going on and darted for first my bathrobe, and then the living room to call my cousin back.

I was met with the information that caught my by such surprise, yet given the events of the last 3 or 4 minutes, I was suddenly expecting. 

Grandma is gone. 

I later was told that she died from a pulmonary embolism (clot from the lung). In that moment, I couldn't even grasp what my cousin was saying to me. Then all the sudden I heard it. 

"You're the only one in your family that knows. I can't get a hold of Susie."

That meant my Dad didn't know yet.

Even as I sit here writing this, I am almost in tears thinking about that moment. Not only was my grandmother gone, but I suddenly was faced with the responsibility of informing my Dad that his Mom was gone. 

I can't remember a time or more specifically a phone call in my life that was more difficult than the one I was suddenly making. I was heart broken for my Dad. I remember almost 10 years ago now, when my Baboo passed away. I was sitting in the LAX airport, at Starbucks (my first time) with my dad, my sister, and my little brother, talking about the grandfather that we had just lost. In a moment, all of the memories came flooding back. The worst of them all, seeing my Dad cry. My dad is the most kind hearted, and gentle man you could ever know, but even so, he does not cry often. There are very few times in my life tat I remember him crying. That was one of them. Another was when I moved across the ocean with my husband. The worst feeling I have felt was having to tell him that his mom was gone. Quickly after the call, I lost service. I called back a minute later. He answered the phone and I could hear it in his voice. Tears. I felt like my heart had suddenly been wrapped in a rubber band. 

My grandma was the sweetest, most loving, most caring person. And she was soft. Her hugs were always the best. I remember countless times, coming to see them on Vacation. She cared for elderly people in her home with the help of her husband. She had such love and compassion for them. I would walk in the front door of their big log cabin, and I could smell "Phyllis's rolls" somewhere warming. They were my Grandpa's favorite. Straight ahead, was the stairs that led up to the bedrooms, and our favorite place, Grandma and Grandpa's bed. Just to the left of the stairs was the living room. There was always someone in there watching TV or playing cards or talking. But I always darted to the right first. past the dining room table and into the kitchen. Grandma was always there. I'd walk up, wrap my little arms around her waist, and bury my face in her chest. Every time we went to see them, it was the same. 

The last time I saw my Grandma, was over a year ago now. I was visiting for my cousin Dorothy's wedding, and was blessed the time with her. She was by no means perfect, and in fact, some of my favorite stories of hers were the ones that painted her in a semi-rebellious light. Like when she used to sneak cigarettes. Or how she stole my Grandpa from another girl. That one was always my favorite. It's the same way for my grandpa.  I remember sitting on his lap, feeling his beard brush my cheek when he would go to kiss me. He taught me how to gamble while playing solitaire. I didn't think that was even possible :) little did i know.

But this is about my grandma.

I'm leaving in less than 36 hours to go be with my family as we lay her body to rest. I say her body, because I know that's not her anymore. It stopped being her yesterday morning, and I'm OK with that. She's finally with Baboo again. She entered through the gates and heard those beautiful words "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
While Baboo was the theologian out of the two of them, Grandma knew, and loved, Jesus, the Gospel, and Scripture. Her body will be buried next to my grandfather's, But I know that her spirit is already worshipping at the feet of Jesus. 

Grandma, we love you, and we will miss you! I'm so glad you're finally home! 


April @ A kitchen table for two said...

Oh Havie, I'm so sorry. Praying for you and your family, dear friend. =(

Rosie Cotton Gamgee said...

Hey you. I just found this. No idea why I hadn't read this entry before. Although, I haven't been much for following any blogs lately. Love this one, though. I've been thinking about Grandma & Baboo lately... especially with the holidays fast approaching. This brought tears to my eyes. Love you! :)