My Maw (grandmother) died last Sunday morning. She was 88. It was sudden, and at the same time, not. She has had a very rough couple years, and has endured a lot of suffering. She held on for us, for her family. She knew we did not want to let her go.
My sweet sister, Ginger, wrote a beautiful tribute to Maw's life here. I cannot begin to say it better, so please read her post. It is perfect.
Here's Maw, at her 86th birthday party in February 2009. She was so happy on that day.
She was not able to get around like she had in the past, but she was determined to dance. And dance she did! Here she is, with a little help, cuttin' a rug!
Here she is with her children.
Here's a layout I did with that beautiful picture of her.
Here's Ginger, me and Maw, Easter 2009.
And me, giving her a framed magazine cover with a picture of her dancing. It was from her 86th birthday and she was beyond giddy to think that she had made the cover of a magazine. :)
Ginger and me, with Maw last year at Christmas, 2010. Her last Christmas.
I have so many pictures of her that I could share, but these are some of the more recent ones.
Ginger, Brian and I went to see her a week before she died. She was having a bad day that day. She couldn't get her words out the way she wanted, and she was getting frustrated. She kept saying "Mamamamama" like she was trying to say, "Mama". Ginger and I kept asking her if she meant our Mama, like maybe she was worried about something. We reassured her that Mama was fine, but she continued to say it. It was only later, at her funeral, that our Aunt Brenda told me that she was certain that Maw thought I was her mother that day, standing over her bed. Maw's Mama was named Emily, and she had red hair, even styled with bangs like mine. She thought I was her Mama. Hearing that was really humbling for me. I hope I brought her some comfort, thinking that her Mama had come to see her, to help her let go.
That Sunday morning that she died, she went peacefully to sleep. Her beautiful, caring, loving and immense heart stopped beating. She could finally rest, finally be free. No more pain. No more suffering.
But we are left here, without her. It has been so hard on all of us. Maybe we're selfish. We know we are blessed to have had her as long as we did. We are truly grateful for that. At the same time, though, that is what makes it so hard to let her go. She was such a constant, such a fixed point in all of our lives.
I posted on Ginger's blog about Maw. I said that Maw is our Golden Thread. She binds us all together and back to her. She would want us to live and love life the way that she did, to continue our journey, knowing she is waiting for us at the end. We will do this. We will honor her, every day. We will continue her legacy.
Often in my life, when I need to process or deal with something like loss, I turn to music. I am reminded of these words from a Tori Amos song and they comfort me. We wanted Maw to hold on so long. We didn't want her to go. I feel like these words are coming through as a message from her to us. She will never be truly gone. She will find us. She will wait for us. And she is our Golden Thread, never breaking.
"and if there is a way to find you
I will find you...
I can't go
you said so
and threads that are golden don't break easily" -- tori amos, "horses"
Until I see you again, Maw, I will keep you in my heart. I will find your spirit in the world around me. I will weave your Golden Thread through the Tapestry of my life. <3