Yesterday my Grandmother would have been 90 years old. She died in 2006 and she lived a very good life. But, it wasn't without daily pain as she suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and that disease was very debilitating. My Grandma could hardly walk at the end without any assistance. It got to the point where she had to be taken care of around the clock in a care facility. The care givers were wonderful to both my Grandma and my Grandpa, who visited her every day. They were married 64 years and devoted to each other until the end. It is a great example for my whole family of enduring love.
At dinner last night I was explaining to Cameron and Molly that today my Grandma would have been 90 years old. I asked them if they knew anyone else that old. We talked about what a long life that would be.
Then the questions started.
My, had I opened a can of worms.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we opened them but the conversation went in a completely different direction that I imagined.
The kids don't remember my Grandma so I got out some pictures to show her to them. They thought it was funny that one of the pictures is my Grandma holding Cameron when he was just an infant. They were having a hard time understanding that this Grandma is the Mom to Grandma Choo (my Mom). Then the questions began with "where is Great-Grandma now?, why does Papa Mac (my Grandfather) live by himself?, does Great-Grandma have a rock on her head? (I'm pretty sure this means a tombstone), and what does Great-Grandma do in heaven?"
Of course, I did all of this solo while Mike was not home.
We talked about heaven, we decided that Great-Grandma is now our angel and she watches over us. I explained how my Grandpa takes care of himself but now lives in a smaller apartment where nice people help him (he lives in assisted living now). Molly cried and told me that she doesn't want to die and wants to live to be 100.
Sweetie, I hope you do to. You have a long life ahead of you.
I told her she had to become a Mommy first and I had to be a Grandma some day. We called all of her Grandparents and they all assured her they were doing just fine. She seemed much better after that but I'm sure little therapy will be in order. It was a healthy, beautiful conversation that made me cry, too. We try to be as honest as we can with our children. My parents always were when we were growing up and it made things less scary. I think some day, when necessary, we will have kids who can face some of these fears with confidence and not feel blind-sided.
It makes me sad to know that my Grandma never met, never held, never had a chance to make a blanket for my Amanda. There have been 3 more babies in our family also. Lily, Evan and Sadie. My Grandparents have 8 great grandchildren!! My Grandma would have loved all of them.
But, I feel reassured knowing we all have our own Angel...