Monday, June 27, 2011

Goodbyes & Endings

It's Monday morning, I have an oh-so-lovely cup of my special home brewed coffee (3tbsp Folger's French Roast, 2tbsp Folger's Vanilla Biscotti) and the rain is coming down slow and steady. I'm newly home as of last night and can say with some certainty that sleeping in your own bed is an underrated joy. What was supposed to be a 5-day romp through Chicago ended up being a whirlwind tour of the northern Midwest, some good spots, some low spots...but altogether an experience not to have been missed.

You see, my Grandma is dying. At 83 years old, they discovered metastasized lung cancer in her brain, a tumor, which by all accounts, occupies the whole left of her brain. In the course of one week, she went from being cogent, conscious and responsive to...not so much. Resting comfortably at the moment in a long-term care facility adjacent to the hospital, she's napping quite a bit these days.

Allow me to give you some context, dear readers. The woman in question, Mrs. Frances Brickner, is the person who first taught me to crochet when I was about 9 years old. I consider it to have been my gateway drug into craftiness. With some of what I'm sure must have been some truly crappy yarn, I learned how to chain and single crochet and proceeded to hook myself a square that was so tightly worked, it promptly rolled up into a fiber burrito.

While we were growing up, my sister and I had our favorite grandparents to spend weekends with. For me, it was Grandma Tammy, aka Mrs. Frances Brickner. We grandkids called them Grandma & Grandpa Tammy due to a cocker spaniel, named Tammy, they once had when we were young. Somehow, it stuck. They lived out in the country...dirt roads, corn fields...mostly I went for the craftiness. Her influence on me during my early years has, I believe, led me to become the knitter I am today.

Changes were made to the trip and I headed north, to return to my hometown. When I arrived, my sister was kind enough to come with me to the care facility. This was advantageous not only for the support but also because it had been so long since my last trip home that I no longer remembered where the hospital was. We grabbed some breakfast at the local McD's and I grabbed a cup of coffee for Grandma. Sure, I knew she wouldn't be able to drink it...but I know if I were in her position, I'd probably enjoy the smell of some fresh coffee in my room. Am I right?

Sis took up position at the foot of the bed. I pulled up a chair right up along side. I spread the Sock Yarn Blanket out over her and gently placed her hands on top of it, moving them back and a forth a bit so that she might better feel the texture. We knit four squares together that day, my Grandma and me...and I stayed for as long as I needed to, 8 hours. At the end of which I gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek and I told her, "You were always my favorite."

"All good things...," right? Actually, just "all things." Everything ends, eventually, is a flowing river that segues from one event to another. We move, we marry, we die...people divorce, friends take jobs in faraway places, lovers come and go and sometimes stay. The whole of humanity is an undulating sea of connections in perpetual and persistent change. When the time comes, you have to be able to let go...for no one connection can last forever. A lifetime, perhaps...but not forever.

Live simply.
Be at peace.

And go call your damn grandma...right now.


  1. Awesome post...thank you for sharing.

  2. Oh Dean I am sitting here crying. This took me back to going back to MI after my grandma was in a car accident and sitting with her in the hospital on Christmas, the day before she died. *hugs*