Thursday Thirteen: Goodbye Mamaw

Chances are if you’ve glanced at my blog or twitter over the last few weeks you’re aware that my Mamaw (Dad’s Mom) had a stroke and was Care Flighted to the hospital where she’s been in a mostly catatonic state for over two weeks.  I’m writing this post in anticipation of the end.

Through this experience my Dad has had to make some very tough decisions, he’s been through a lot of circumstances I would never wish on a child taking care of their parent.  I’m proud that he’s my dad.

Monday he was agonizing over a decision that had to be made.  Alone with her in the hospital room he took her hand knowing that she probably wasn’t conscious enough to know what he was saying or why she squeezed his hand.  The decision has been that squeezing our hands is a reflex.  She knows we’re there even if she doesn’t know what we’re saying.  The decision was a tough one and he knew it needed to be made but man should never have to play God, and he would have to do that with his mother’s life.

Unexpectedly she opened her eyes, appearing more aware of her surroundings than she has been.  Dad, after the initial shock wore off, began telling her of her condition.  That she’d had a stroke, she’d been in the hospital for two weeks and she wouldn’t be getting better.  He told her he had to make a tough choice and he wanted to know if it was okay.

“Momma, if you can understand what I’m saying, blink once.”

She blinked.

“Momma, do you want us to keep you on life support?  If yes, blink twice.”

She didn’t blink.

“Momma, do you want us to take the other option?  Blink three times.”

She blinked three, slow times.

“Momma, if we do this you’re going to die.  They’re giving you forty-eight hours.”

She squeezed his hand and closed her eyes.

To some extent this is a dramatization.  I’m not sharing the intimate details or the tough questions he had to ask, but in a lot of ways my dad is the strongest man I know.

So today here are thirteen things I’m grateful my Mamaw taught me, things she gave me and why I’m going to miss her.

  1. She taught me how to embroider.  I suck at it, but she showed me not to be afraid of a needle and thread.  Today I can sew just about anything.
  2. I’ll never again eat an over salted piece of burned meat and have to smile and say it’s good while ignoring the New Year’s hangover.
  3. When her husband died and she set up house at the back of our property, she became my chauffer.  There are countless things I would never have been able to do if she hadn’t been able to take me.
  4. Of my family members she was the one who understood why I wanted to go to Bible College.
  5. She always had faith in me.
  6. Some days my Mamaw really surprised me, like the day she flipped off a guy cutting her off and told him to shove it.  I snorted laughing so hard.
  7. My Christmas presents will be a lot more straightforward.  I won’t be getting recycled items from her closet any more.
  8. Mamaw was never too busy to take a moment and include me.
  9. Pecan bars.  She made them every Thanksgiving.  We’ll never have them again.  It was the one thing she made that she never burned and always tasted fantastic.
  10. I’ve been a kid with two grandmothers for most of my life.  Now I only have one.
  11. She alwasy gave my dad something to worry about or annoy him with something.
  12. There isn’t anyone else in my family to ask me hard, religious and spiritual questions.
  13. She gave me my daddy.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Thursday Thirteen: Goodbye Mamaw

  1. I am so very sorry you have to go through this Sid. I lost my grandparents in 2003, after a very long illness for my grandmother, and a very short unexpected one for my grandfather. It was devastating and there is nothing that can be said to make it better. Just know that your friends are here for you be that a shoulder to cry on, a distracting moment, or just being understanding.

    • Sidney

      Thanks Reb. You’re a gem, ya know? They’re moving her to a hospice today. They gave her 48 hours on Monday but she’s still hanging on. 😦

  2. You gave me chills. Lovely list! Blessings to you as you wait for her to slip away. I don’t envy you, dear, and will keep you in my prayers.

  3. She reminds me a lot of my great grandmother, who I credit with my eventually becoming an accountant because she let me sort her buttons. Really, there is a connection.

    BTW, what is #2 about?

    • Sidney

      We always had New Years Day brunch at her house. Needless to say as I got into the drinking age New Years Day was not a day that I wanted to go out and do anything because New Years is one of the rare times that I drink enough to make me tipsy.

      Her cooking has deteroirated over the years until everything is always burned and over seasoned. It’s become a test to see how much of the meal I can make it through with a raging migrane and my typically finicky stomach.

  4. Very sweet tribute to both your grandmother and your dad. He does seem like an amazingly strong man. I lost 3 grandparents in the last 24 months and even though one was 1 week away from his 103rd birthday and had lived a good life it doesn’t make it any easier when you have to say goodbye.

    Hugs for you and your family.

    • Sidney

      Oh man, that would be tough! We keep telling ourselves that she’s done so much and she wouldn’t want to hang on like this. Thank you for your support.

  5. So sorry for this difficult time, Sid. You are very lucky to have known your grandparents and have so many memories of them (I never got to know any of mine). Sending cyber hugs to you and your family. (((HUGS)))

    • Sidney

      I lost both of my grandfather’s early on. One to a stroke and the other to alzheimer’s, which has always made my grandmothers so special. I’m glad that they’ve both been around for so long and I’ve gotten to be with them.

  6. I’m glad you have good memories of time spent with your grandmother. AHugs.

  7. I’m so sorry that you’re going through such a loss and in such a prolonged way. I’m glad you’re able to say goodbye. I know how much I wish I’d had that chance with my dad.

    Hugs,

    ~Xakara
    13 Soundtracks

  8. Aw, Sidney. I’m so sorry. I lost the last of my grandparents this year and didn’t know until after the funeral. At least you got to spend time with her and have lots of wonderful memories of your time together.

  9. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Very difficult. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man. I will keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers.