Oct 17, 2005

My step-mother's mother passed away early this morning. We've all known this was going to happen for quite a long time. I saw her two weekends ago, bedridden, skin and bones, mumbling, unable to eat, barely alive. She had moments of lucidity, however, beaming and incredibly happy when introduced to her new baby great-grandson two weeks ago; telling her daughter, fully aware of what was happening: "I'm dying, aren't I? But I'm OK with that, I've made peace, I can go now." and "I can go now because I've paid my bills." and "I don't know what He is waiting for, I'm ready to go now." and "I'll tell your dad you say hello. I can carry a message from earth to heaven. I like that."

Now she's gone.

So another trip to the east coast, another visit with my family who is still living. Another celebration of this 90+ year old woman's life. Stories of Nana. Like when she said, in her southern drawl, "Emily, I didn't know YOU were going to be here!" to me at my own wedding. And when she asked who my handsom boyfriend was when I showed up to her house with my little brother. And when she would drink a holiday liquor and fall asleep on the couch with the TV blaring away at the loudest possible level. And when she would put shrimp and ham and biscuits in a napkin to feed to her little pomeranian, CB, who Nana referred to as "him" even though the dog was a girl.

She passed in peace, on her own time, from only her own body's refusal to keep living. In her own home. Surrounded by her family. Cared for by her children and grandchildren. Exactly the way she wanted.

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