In our family, there are 13 grandchildren; four of them are girls. We are her favorites. Oh, the boys might try to say they are the most favorite but we all know the truth. Grandma loves us the best. She always calls us her "beautiful girls". The beauty clearly started with her.
I could share hundreds of stories about my grandmother. The time will come for those stories to be shared. And when the time comes, we will toast martini after martini in her honor and tell countless stories. Or maybe it will be McNaughtons and Coke. Either way, she'll watch over us and laugh along with us.
But that time isn't now.
Instead, I want to tell a story about the day my dad died.
My brother texted early on October 1 and said he didn't think Dad wasn't going to make it through the day. Patrick had flown out from Florida the night before and took the night shift so Mom could get a little rest. He had finished calling the funeral home to make all the arrangements because I couldn't bear that task and told me Dad was ready to go. I sped up my getting ready process and jumped in the truck to go to the hospital. I envisioned the five of us together when Dad left us and it would be beautiful.
Dad had a different vision in mind.
As I was driving, I kept hearing Dad's voice "don't turn off to go to the hospital. Go to your grandmothers house and be with her. I need you to be with her.". I thought I was crazy and ignored him. Why would I go to my grandmother's house when I should be with my dying dad, right? So, he said the words AGAIN, with that stern Dad voice that you didn't ignore. "Michelle Marie, go to your grandmother's house. I don't want you at the hospital." This time, there were images in my head, of kneeling at Grandma's feet, while she told me stories of my dad and played with my hair.
The feeling and urge to be with Grandma was overwhelming. I felt so torn about what to do. I wanted to be with my dad but I couldn't ignore that he clearly had a different idea for me.
Naturally, I did exactly what I wanted and ignored my father. I went to the hospital. Upon entering his room, I burst into tears and told my mom and brother that I wasn't supposed to be there and that Dad wanted me to be with Grandma. To which my brother responded, "then why are you here? If Dad says leave, you better listen to him. He is still in charge." My mom swears she could feel Dad pushing me out of the room. I sobbed, kissed my father goodbye and Mom walked me out. I called my cousin Jodie and my aunt and told him Dad wanted me at Grandma's. I'm pretty sure I freaked them out. But no one argued with me.
I pulled up to Grandma's house, pretty darn hysterical. I told her through my tears that Dad wanted me to be with her, and she was supposed to tell me stories. It didn't even occur to her to question my request. She simply responded in her sweet, kind voice, "well, we better listen to Danny." She sat in her chair. I curled up at her feet. And she started from the beginning. Story after story poured out of her. I sobbed but she never once stopped telling stories in the clearest, strongest voice I had ever heard from her. It was beautiful.
I am not sure how much time passed before my aunt walked in and told me that Dad was gone. I looked at Grandma and we told her. She said, "he's gone? I thought he'd stop by and say hello on his way." I said nothing. She was really quiet and then she said, "Danny gave me a better gift than saying goodbye. He sent me Chelle." Naturally, I lost it again. The rest of the day passed in a blur with family, tears, and so much love. My dad put me in the arms of my grandma on that day for both of us. And I will forever be grateful for it.
My grandmother is ready to be with her loved ones in heaven. She is ready to be with my dad. And Dad will greet her with his big smile, arms wide open, and they will dance and laugh. I want that for her. I kinda also want it for me, too, but there is still much to be done here before it's my time.
On the day she dies, I will print and frame this photo to put in my office. I know I have host of angels looking over me from above.
But these two will always be my favorites.