Well...here I am...
...we've had a death in the family.
As I wrote...what...two weeks ago, I had a killer toof - which is still bothering me even though I've had a root canal. Directly after that, I had to do some business travel.
On either side of the trip, I had planned to visit my parents - my dad and his wife and then my mother. My stepmother had Alzheimer's, scleroderma, and primary pulmonary hypertension, which is a rare lung disease. In any event, she was quite ill. Hospice had been called in to give my stepmother and father some help for which I am incredibly grateful.
Anyway, my son and I arrived on Thursday evening, spent the night with mama, and then went to my dad's for the weekend. The plan was that we would return and spend a day with mama after my work had concluded. When we got to my dad's, I was truly shocked at how quickly my stepmother had declined. Two weeks ago I was talking with her on the phone. Now - she had few moments of clarity and seemed to be in constant pain. I knew when we left on Monday that I wouldn't see her again.
At 1:00 am Wednesday morning, I got a call at the hotel that she had passed away. I sent an email to cancel my participation in the meeting and made my way back to Charleston. It was sad enough going back given the horrific events that had just occurred - God Bless the Charleston 9 - that felt personal. This really was personal.
My son and I spent the rest of the week going back and forth between my mom and dad's - an hour drive each way. My stepmother's children stayed at the my dad's house and really had no other place to stay, so it felt like the thing to do.
It's funny how folks react to death. Obviously, I shed some tears. Both my kids were there and I'm glad for that - they always called her "Sugar Granny". I think my daughter's eyes will be swollen for a while. My son is like his father and was rather stoic. The adults were quiet, but like lots of southern funerals, it becomes a family get together where there's lots of stories and laughter.
I was fine until the funeral on Sunday. My dad went up to the casket by himself. It was at that moment that I realized how much he was hurting. He tried to straighten her hair in the way she always wore it and then patted her. When he touched her hand and felt how cold she was, you would have thought he had touched fire. After that, he touched her hair and kissed her hair. Seeing him standing there in his grief, in the gentle way he was taking care of her still was almost more than I could bear. I had a very difficult time keeping it together when I saw him there. When I went up to the casket, I saw that he had placed a ring on her finger.
While I'm sad my stepmother passed, she had no quality of life and was in constant pain. My grief is really for my father - that he'll have to go through the grieving process - I hate that he even has to feel these feelings. I wish there was something I could do to make it better for him, but there isn't. I hated it when my mother's husband passed away and I'll hate it now.
One nice thing about the situation is that my kids got to see some step-cousins she's never seen. She told me later that they all had the same stories about Sugar Granny and Papa - they were just 15 years apart.
And so it goes.
I have no idea what the scale says. I didn't go off the rails or anything - though there were some Sonic stops and some alcohol.
I got home last night and there's no cooking at home as the kitchen is torn apart with the remodeling - no stove and no microwave - so a peanut butter sandwich it's been today.
I'm back to work tomorrow and home until the middle of the month when we leave again for Vienna.
RIP Sugar Granny