Every Day I Miss Her {Pieces of Me} | Always Happy Life

It’s hard to believe that five years ago tonight, one of the most influential people in my life went to heaven. She was one of the first to ever hold me and I saw her almost every day throughout my entire childhood and as often as possible as an adult. When I lived in Rochester during college and grad school, we had lunch or dinner together at least once a week. She lived a long life…90 years…and saw so much change in the world, I can’t even imagine. Born in 1916, she remembered the days before the Model T. She graduated from high school at the age of sixteen (the same Fairport Central School District both my mom and I graduated from and my mom will be retiring from this year after over 40 years of teaching…wow!) and never attended college (not by choice). She lived through the Roaring 20’s and the Great Depression. She was independent and worked until she was in her 80’s.

In January 2007, she fell a few times and ended up with a “GI bug”. Mom finally persuaded her to go to the emergency room. A few days later, she made a choice to have surgery for a ruptured intestine. Not good. They told her she either had less than two weeks or she had a 50% chance to live if she chose to have the surgery. She wasn’t going to hear the two weeks part, that wasn’t an option. She chose major surgery. A true fighter, her mind was still sharp, it was her body that failed her. She made it through the surgery, but it wasn’t easy. Her wish was to have a DNR (aka Do Not Resuscitate) and to not live connected to machines. In a month, her health slid from living at home, to being kept alive on a ventilator in the ICU. She struggled with trying to come off the vent for over two weeks. They wanted to give her a trach, but we knew this wasn’t her wishes. This wasn’t how she wanted to live. She fought hard and finally weaned off of the vent. We talked about her going to rehab and then going home. I’m so glad she fought, as one of our last conversations influenced my life choices. As I sat keeping her company in the ICU, she managed a few words in a whisper. “Do what makes you happy” and “I love you”. A few days later, I was told to get to NY from Maryland as soon as possible. She was in a coma when I arrived and it wouldn’t be long.

I was the one who sat up with her late that night, five years ago tonight, as she held my hand and took her last breath. Such a neat lady, my Grandma Lou. I miss her every day.

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