Saying Goodbye

I write a lot about inner peace, conveying love, and choosing happy.  Those are certainly how I strive to face my days, but that does not mean all my days are easy.  On October 24, 2014, I said goodbye to my Grandma Syble.  That was a hard day.


Knowing that her health was failing, having been told by her doctors that it was just a matter of weeks, I kissed Coach and our kids as they headed off in different directions to go to school that morning, and I hit the road for my hometown 90 miles away to see our GiGi for the last time.

I knew she would not know that I had been there; her mind had started failing her a while back, but I needed to spend one last day with her just for me.  I made a batch of her family-famous peanut butter candy, I downloaded Elvis’ greatest hits onto my phone, and I grabbed my bag of knitting to show her my latest project.

Grandma Syble was sleeping when I arrived.  She was so tiny and frail – not at all like the outdoorsy, outspoken lady I knew as my grandmother.  Death was obviously upon her. I set her box of candy on her bedside tray, I turned on my iPod, and I sat next to her knitting for hours.

When the nurses came in to wake her for lunch, I cried because she was too weak to even adjust herself in her bed.  Her skin had become so terribly thin that just sliding her sheets and blankets to recenter her on the bed caused her chaffing and discomfort.  It was so hard to see her wince in response.

She could not lift her arms any longer, so she had to be spoon-fed.  She ate one green bean and two infant-sized bites of mashed potatoes.  That would likely be all she’d eat for the day as she had slept through breakfast and would probably do the same through dinner.

I turned up her music, reminding her how we used to listen to record after record of Elvis’ songs while cooking or baking or painting or putting puzzles together, the two of us together at her house.  I told her that I had made her candy recipe for us to enjoy, and she spoke her first words of the day: “Well, alright!”  There was a rare moment of clarity and comprehension in her eyes.  She used to use that expression a lot, and hearing it again reminded me of how she could show me support for the silliest of things and always make me feel really special by being excited for whatever I had going on.  I broke off a piece of candy, and she followed up with a “yum” as she closed her eyes and savored that tiny bite.  She seemed intrigued with my knitting, so I sat on the edge of her bed winding the yarn as she watched.  My enjoyment of sewing and fabrics and stitching and yarns came from Grandma Syble.  Her 1965 Singer sewing machine that she gave me years ago is one of my most treasured possessions.

Coach happened to be recruiting my old hometown that day, and as he walked into her room, she perked up with one more moment of clarity and exclaimed, “Look who’s here!” She even smiled a small smile.  She always adored him!  We stayed a while longer, Coach carrying the conversation as my heart got heavier and heavier.

When it was time to go, Coach said, “GiGi, we love you, and we’ll see you soon.”  Grandma Syble replied in her strongest voice all day, “I’m not going anywhere; I’ll always be here.”  How true!

One week later, we got the call that my Grandma Syble had died.


If you’ve never written an obituary I am here to tell you it is tough.  Luckily, my sister who is a beautiful writer was with me, and we tackled it together.  As we wrote it, I kept coming back to one thought: Thank you, Lord, for giving me her and for giving her peace.

See, Grandma had two great fears.  1.) She was scared to lose her mobility, and 2.) she was terrified to lose her mind.  Both had come to fruition over the last 3 years, and she was stuck living her worst nightmare every single day.  I am so, so very happy that she is now free from that unimaginable suffering.

Surrounded by my family, the day of her funeral was truly a celebration of a woman I dearly loved, a woman who passed down to me more than just her looks (yes, I know we look quite a lot alike), and more than just her hobbies.  Grandma Syble showed me ways to be tough and strong and loving and wise and matriarchal and resourceful and independent and kind and smart and fashionable and literary and domestic and all the things that make me the me I am.  These traits didn’t skip a generation; my mom has them all, too, and from these two women, I received a foundation to be the wife and mom that I love to be.  They created a heritage of beautiful, capable, hardworking, and honest women that I am proud to embrace and proud to pass along to my Angel Girl.

For that I am eternally thankful!!

4 Generations Strong: Angel Girl, Me, Grandma Syble, and Mom

4 Generations Strong: Angel Girl, Me, Grandma Syble, and Mom


PS:  Here are my results from yesterday, Day 4 of my 10 day challenge to lose 10 pounds before Thanksgiving:

2 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye

  1. Pingback: ONE DAY | Me & Coach

  2. Pingback: Consistently INCONSISTENT | Me & Coach

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