Scotland was a blur. It was also an emotional roller coaster. Happy to see my Uncles and Aunt, sad to see Grandma so ill. Happy she was alive when I got there. Sad to think she would never make it back to her little apartment where we all camped out during our stay. Happy to get the chance to be there at all.
Grandma knew I had come to see her. Although she couldn't talk she was able to move and respond to voices. When I spoke to her and stroked her hair she struggled to talk to me. It was hard to see her so agitated and frustrated. We spent our days at the hospital, taking turns with Gran, talking to her, touching her, singing...whatever we could do to make her comfortable and let her know we were there. On my last day in Scotland I had to say good-bye. She managed to lift her head, turn and open her eyes...just enough so that I knew she knew. I cried and kissed her on her soft cheek and I walked away. She died on June 6th.
I feel so lucky that I was able to go and see her. My Grandma and I were very close and we spoke every week or two. It was always the highlight of my weekend...she always made me laugh and I was always so happy to hear her voice. Many people I have spoken to have been surprised at how close we were. I never saw Gran as an old person or called her out of a sense of duty. I saw here as a friend and a reflection of myself. She was my hero and my teacher and the most positive, funny person I have ever known.
Death is such a strange thing. As humans we have been practicing it for millions of years and yet, nobody really knows how to deal with it yet. I don't feel sad for Grandma because I know that she had a good life. Yes, I would have liked to have her around longer, heck I would have wanted her here forever but things just don't work that way. She wasn't afraid of death and she didn't suffer. When she died she died in peace with her kids holding her hand. It doesn't get much better than that. I grieve more for my own Mum and for myself because we will miss her. It's been hard not to consider the obvious consequence of this, which is an upward shift in generations. Now my Mother is the oldest generation and as I stood there watching my Mum cry over my Grandma's bed I knew that one day that would be me, and then my daughter. The circle of life just got a little smaller.