This I Believe

Katharine - Batavia, Illinois
Entered on April 3, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: death

I believe my last conversation with my paternal Grandmother was in January 2007. Grandma died in December 2006.

In the early morning hours of that January day, as I lay snuggled and slumbering under mounds of blankets, I dreamt I was having a conversation with Grandma. The last time I’d seen her was Thanksgiving Day. At 97 years old, Grandma had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, hospitalized for several days, and eventually admitted into a nursing home. She had been at this facility less than 24 hours before our visit. My daughter saw her sitting alone at a dining room table. My family rushed to her. We were appalled to see her unattended. I got down on my knees and looked up into her terrified eyes. “Grandma, it’s Kathy.”

In my dream I recounted this final sojourn. “Gram, you couldn’t talk. You kept pointing to a picture chart. You pointed to a line drawing of a family. You wanted Dad. You wanted your boy. Mom and I calmed you until Dad could come. The next day Kim, Kristi, Karyn (my sisters) and I came to see you and you wouldn’t wake up. We stroked your hair. We kissed your forehead. We told you how much we loved you. And you slept. What a relief to see you sleep.”

Grandma turned to me and frankly replied, “I just wanted to be with the others.” I startled from my dream. The darkness was chilling, and yet, it warmed me to think Grandma was with the “others.” It had been a lonely year for Grandma. Grandpa had died at the beginning of the year, and Gram couldn’t understand why she was living such a long life. We told her it was because we still needed her, but she retrieved within nonetheless. I didn’t understand why she would wish for heaven and a reunion with those already passed in exchange for leaving us behind.

I then thought of my maternal Grandmother who had died in a car accident nearly 20 years ago. I had also dreamt of her shortly after her death. She was at a family gathering and I was baffled to see her, “Why are you here, Grandma? You died.” She didn’t answer, but it didn’t matter. She wasn’t hurt. She was just there amongst us.

And so I wonder, are my grandmothers still with me? I’m not talking about apparitions in the night. (Although I guess I have been talking about visits in my dreams.) It’s a captivating thought; imagine if those we love never truly leave us. There’s a lot in this world that is theory, man trying to figure it all out. There’s a lot I don’t understand. But this I do know, I am who I am because my grandmothers were who they were. Their energy… their spirits…love, encircle, and embrace me daily.

And so, this I believe, my last conversation with Grandma was in January and all is at peace in her new world.