Friday, September 5, 2014

FOREVER YOUNG

Clara E. Slomke (aka Grandma)
It’s been 5 years since I lost my beloved Grandma.  The summer of 2009 was a wonderful time and also a sad time.  After our grand adventure to western Canada and back through the US, my dear Grandma fell ill and asked to be taken to the hospital.  At the age of 99 she was still living on her own and had always been quite healthy however she had developed pneumonia and things did not look good.  So we took off immediately for the 8 hour drive back to Manitoulin Island to be with her.

Although the doctors said that the day and night before they thought they were going to lose her, when I got there she seemed like her old self.  She was talking and laughing and telling me she needed to get her hair done and wanting to know what Victor had been up to on the Young and the Restless.  The family had gathered and we all had some time alone with her.  I had already told my Grandma many times how much I loved her and how awesome she was and how lucky I was to have her for a Grandma.  We were always very close and after my Mom passed away we got even closer.  This day was so hard and I could see that she was fading.  She kept telling us all to go home to bed.  She was really insistent.  We all said our goodbyes.  I hugged her so tight and told her that I loved her and that she could stop fighting and go to see her daughter (my Mom) and her husband that she had missed so terribly for so many years.
Me, my brother and our Grandma

She passed during the night and I left the hospital feeling empty and sad.  On the drive from the hospital in the early morning hours during that time when it is not totally dark anymore but not quite light, I saw something up ahead on the side of the road.  I slowed down and looked right into the eyes of a wolf.  It was incredible.  I have never seen a wolf by the roadside like that.  It was not scared or angry.  It just looked peaceful and sad.  We made eye contact for what seemed like forever and then it slowly turned and walked back into the forest.  I felt an incredible peace wash over me. My Grandma had said a special goodbye.  We had always had a pact that whichever one of us died first we were going to give the other a sign that we were okay.  I got mine.  I cannot explain how this felt and you might think I am making this up but I’m totally not.  After what seemed like time standing still I started driving.  Moving forward into my life without my precious Grandma.
My daughter & her Great Grandma
We somehow got through the next few days and all of a sudden the funeral was about to begin.  My Grandma had asked me years before to do her eulogy when the time came.  I was honored.  However when I actually had to write something I wanted to be sure that I could do her justice and make her proud.  Funny that usually when old people die it is sad but expected.  It never seems quite as tragic as when a younger person dies.  However, she was 99 and had been in so many people’s lives for so long that to not have her around was going to be a huge adjustment.  She was still living on her own and smart as a whip and sharp as a tack!  So even at 3 months shy of her 100th birthday it was still a shock for everyone who loved her.


My son & his Great Grandma
My Grandma lived a long and wonderful life.   She was loved by many.  I, for one, admired her.  I think she was a truly amazing woman and I miss her terribly.  I feel so blessed to have had the good fortune to call her Grandma.  She gave me so many gifts, memories, stories and smiles.  I am thankful for this.  She taught me so very many things that she herself probably never intentionally planned to teach but did so more by example.  She taught me about independence, strength, relationships and balance.  These are things that have been inspirational to me and that have helped guide the choices in my own life and the way I handle each new challenge.

Me & my Grandma.  Best ever.
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