In November 2012 we were given devastating news: Grandma had stage 4 lung cancer. It was a crushing blow... but at the same time, Grandma smoked for as long as any of us can remember, so it didn't come out of left field. Not that that makes it any easier to better. It just is. I think it was always in the back of my mind. There was this underlying fear of that diagnosis.
That Thanksgiving, the entire family descended on my mom's house. It was really nice to have all of the peeps here. We haven't had the entire family together in many years... maybe my wedding? Anyway, we took millions of pictures, many variations of the same pose, just swapping out relatives. We gave Grandma her mini iPad. It was a gift from the "grands" and we pre-loaded it with pictures collected from all family members. I don't think Jackie was there, so we pulled out Stick Jackie and subbed her in. =)
Christmas was busier. Family descended once more on our town. Mom's house was full of people.
The following year (2013) was packed. We celebrated a handful of birthdays at chemo with LaLa: Mom's, LaLa's, Amy's, mine.
I really noticed a huge difference in Grandma when we saw her at Christmas. Even though I lived 20 minutes away from her, it was hard to see her often. Because with her weakened immune system, I stayed away if the kids were even the slightest bit sick. That was hard. But I didn't want to be responsible for sending her to the hospital, or worse.
Christmas was a mixed bag of emotions. I was happy because, let's face it, anytime my family gets together it is loud and fun. I was sad because it seemed pretty clear that this was going to be our last Christmas with LaLa. She was so much weaker and looked so different than the previous one (where she asked if I was preggo).
Shane and I got completely sidelined a few days later by our monsters. They both became so sick. Both were admitted to the hospital. I spoke to LaLa on the phone while I was sitting in the ER with Buddy. I told her how I missed her being there. In the past, she was the one who would show up and sit in the ER with me and a sick kiddo - One specific instance comes to mind. Buddy was 18mos. He had a high fever and strange rash for about 4-5 days. We took him to the ER on the pediatrician's orders because the rash had spread to his eyes. I think we went to the ER around 9pm or so. LaLa knew we had gone (I think Stu put it on Facebook). I just remember she called and said, "You can't tell me no. I'm coming to the hospital. Do you want me to bring you anything?" I laughed and said no. She stayed with us until well past 2am... She didn't leave until we had been admitted and moved into a pediatric room.
That's the kind of Grandma she was.
She would call me on the phone, or I would call her to check in. She would say, "Now I know I'm just your old Grandma, but listen to me for a minute..." I knew that meant she was going to lecture me about something - lately it was that my kids are sick all the time and they need to take vitamins and I need to clean my house better.
That's the kind of Grandma she was.
When Rea was born, I extended my maternity leave to about 8mos. I spent almost every weekday at LaLa's house. Baby Rea and I went over for a few hours each week. She LOVED being a Great-Grandma. She absolutely adored Rea - and Buddy when he came along. On those days we would dig through old pictures and she would tell me stories.
We love you LaLa and miss you.
Nothing super fancy here... Just crazy stories from our day to day life. Or random thoughts from my brain. Enjoy.