Editor’s note: Friday blogger Amy Grace is taking off May to focus on family and a few upcoming projects. Don’t worry, she’ll be back! Danielle Herzog is blogging in her place.
I’m losing my grandmother Ida minute by minute.
She is battling congestive heart failure and dementia. She has lived a glorious 94 years and has seen children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren be born. She’s never changed her beliefs or faith, even when life challenged her with a stillborn death and the loss of her 50-year-old husband.
She has been the rock for my big, New York Italian family and whether you were getting slapped in the arm for acting up or hugged tight to her chest watching “The View,” you always knew you were deeply loved.
When my grandfather passed, my recently married parents invited her to live with them. She has lived with them ever since.
The math on that is that my mother has lived with her mother for more than 40 years. She has an apartment in the upper level of my parents’ home on Long Island. In the past year, she has moved down to the main floor where they all reside.
In high school, when other kids were throwing parties when their parents went out of town, I was playing Scrabble with my grandmother. I was busy convincing her that “mangia” couldn’t be used as an American word.
When I complimented on her ruffled, pink shirt, she’d say “Thanks, do you want it?” Then she’d take it off right there in front of you.
After not flying in an airplane for more than 20 years, she finally flew to Omaha last fall to watch the birth of my son Cooper.
Until recently, we wrote letters to each other every week – she’d do one week, I’d do the next.
My 3-year-old daughter Addison knows her great-grandmother is dying.
She has been asking handfuls of questions each day and struggling with understanding this complex idea.
Heck, I’m struggling to understand it all, too.
Addison wondered why she couldn’t come with me last week to New York to help take care of Grandma.
Yesterday she asked how Grandma will get to heaven after she passes. Taken aback, I replied: “The angels will come to get her.”
“On an airplane?” she asked, without skipping a beat.
I smiled. “Maybe, or maybe they will fly themselves, since they have wings.”
She ran into her room and grabbed her butterfly wings from the toy box. She put them on and smiled. “Look Mom, I’m an angel and I can take Grandma to heaven so she’s not alone.”
Tears started to fill my eyes.
“Don’t cry, Mommy,” said Addison. ”I’ll just take her up to heaven and then come right back to be with you.”
Thanks, baby. That sounds like a beautiful plan to me.
Danielle Herzog is a native New Yorker from a large Italian family. She’s a wife, mother of a 3 and 9-month-old and a not-embarrassed-to-admit-it fan of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Read her adventures on www.martinisandminivans.com