They say February is Love Month. Images come to mind of heart shaped boxes filled with yummy chocolates, pink and red flowers, cards with cupids, and romantic candlelight dinners.
That is not exactly the month I had. It was filled with love. It just looked differently.
On January 29, 2017 my 93 year-old grandmother fell and broke her femur at her hip. February rolled in while I was sitting at her bedside in a hospital five hours away from my Valentine. By the fourth we were saying our goodbyes as her kidneys couldn’t come back from all that she’d been through. It was a first for me. The first time I had lost anyone I was this close to. I’d lost loved ones before but I quickly learned that the more you know someone, the more you love someone, the more painful it is to say goodbye. It was also the first time I had ever laid my hand on the chest of someone taking their final breath. Just days before that, it was the first time I’d ever been in a hospital room where the Rapid Response Team came flooding in ready with the Crash Cart. It was all happening so fast. My heart was breaking into a puzzle and now a piece would be forever missing. I am so thankful for each memory with my grandma. I am equally as thankful for my sister and the memories we made in that week alone.
Yes, February was Love Month! My love came in the form of holding the hand of the strongest woman I’d ever known while sitting with my sister, the second strongest woman I know. I felt love as my sister and I laughed about the pajama pants she brought me to wear for our hospital sleepover the night before my grandmother passed. One leg of the pants were smaller than the other…it was quite a scene. I wore them anyway and we laughed until we cried. Then we cried some more as our hearts filled with reality.
Love came in with my son and his wife, the next morning as my grandma decided to head home to be with her Forever Friend. The four of us counted the seconds between her breaths. She slipped off peacefully into a world where love never ends.
As my sister and I prepared her arrangements the next day, I had a feeling the funeral would be on Valentine’s Day. Sure enough, that is how it fell allowing enough time for family to arrive. I personally found it very fitting; After all, my grandmother had been one of my greatest loves. She taught me so much about life, love and legacy. I am so honored to be writing about it all in my upcoming book. I am of course saddened that she won’t be here to read it, but she lived it.
The flowers I received this year for Valentine's came when I got home between her passing and the funeral. My sweet husband and daughter had flowers waiting for me. Then of course on Valentine's the flowers were from loved ones, and a beautiful pink carnation casket spray, exactly what Grandma would have wanted. Jewelry this Valentine's was from Grandma as well. My sister, mom and cousin went through my grandmother's vintage jewelry the night before the visitation. I wore some of the pieces to both the visitation and the funeral. I could almost feel Grandma patting my face telling me how she loved the jewelry on me.
We were surprised with another gift of love when we received a phone call from the San Antonio Express News Paper. They wanted to do a feature story on my grandma. Priscilla Aguirre did an awesome job writing this article honoring my grandma.
Love continued to pour in through family and friends as we all said our final goodbyes. One man that worked with my grandma at the Elks Lodge years before, road his bicycle up to the visitation. Who does that? A man touched by my grandmother’s life, that’s who! Such love was felt from all whom attended her services, paid condolences and sent cards.
A sweet friend I call my Tyler grandma, (because we live by Tyler and she does, as well), gave me the sweetest gift. A pretty lace shawl in a gift bag covered with flowers. She said it was a bouquet of remembrance and that each time I wore it she hoped it brought sweet memories of my grandma. Love…that is love…
I am still numb, still grieving but know that as we Spring Forward (Daylight savings thing in Texas) now in March, that my grandma would want me to do the same…spring forward. She always believed that God had the solution to her problems long before she had the problems. I will do my best to spring forward. To get back to writing her book, writing here on my blog and on my hiking blog(we leave for a schedule trip Thursday!!!). I will continue to live as God has called me to knowing that would be exactly what she would have done.