Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste death but once — William Shakespeare
She wouldn’t call herself valiant, but a lot of other people would. She’s a light. The epitome of a family matriarch without pride or arrogance. Until the end, she kept smiling, offering her caretakers joy.
“Show me that smile, Betty”.
And smile she did. Even through the pain. She always found a reason to smile.
I picture her smiling in death. Now she knows what heaven is like and I’m positive she brightens it a little more with her smile.
Some people are taken too early, but some people have a timely death.
Grandma died a timely death. She fulfilled her purpose. She went into hospice the week before Christmas and everyone says she knew what was happening and made some of her last decisions, like the one not to receive dialysis when her kidneys were failing.
I think she chose to leave us on Christmas so that everyone could rest and smile with their families knowing she was finally at rest.
Ninety years of life.
She lived simply, frugally. She lived a life of love. People wanted to be around her, even those who had divorced one of her boys. Once she touched your life you wanted more of her.
She lived well.
I remember sitting on the back of the couch, rolling her hair in brush rollers. We would laugh and talk for hours exchanging stories about life. She would laugh at my jokes, even if they weren’t funny.
We would snap the ends off of green beans for entire weekends. Our fingers worked until they were too sore to work anymore, then we worked some more.
Life happened in Grandma’s love.
We always wanted to get there as soon as the sun was up and stay until after our bodies ached for sleep. If we could fall into bed after a day with her we fell asleep knowing we were loved.
Everything was better at Grandma’s house.
Grandma was always prepared, even in death. She picked the place, the organist, the readings, the songs. It was her choice to have no picture in her obituary. A few grumbled about this. The funeral director said she discussed her wishes with him and they planned the event together.
The day was every bit her choosing.
She planned and cared for her death the way she loved us in life.
Right down to the request for potted plants instead of fresh flowers. She wanted potted plants that people could take home because fresh flowers are a waste, in her humble opinion.
Why grow a thing to die?
Her day was carried out exactly the way she wanted it.
I guess that’s the way it ought to be.
Her body is broken, but her smiles and wisdom continue to light our lives with love. Rest in peace, Grandma.
I guess she received fresh flowers anyway.
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