My Grandma

Annalea Guisewite
September 23, 1917 - December 26, 2008

I lost my grandma yesterday. She was 91 years old. She still lived at home (with home health care). And she was in pretty good health other than having osteoporosis. Last Sunday she suffered a fall. And she really didn't think she had hurt herself that badly. She was checked out and then allowed to go home. The doctor thought maybe she had just sprained her back. But the next morning she was unable to move without very severe pain. So she was hospitalized.

The doctor said it was hard to detect a new fracture in her spine because her spine was in such bad shape from the osteoporosis and the fractures that were already there. But he was almost sure she had suffered a new fracture. She also fractured some ribs, as it turned out. And pneumonia settled in pretty quickly.

We had planned to spend some time with her on Christmas Day (before her fall). We didn't know this would be the last time we'd see her. We went to visit her at the hospital on Thursday. She was sleeping from the pain meds when we got there and was only alert for a few minutes toward the end of our visit. She did know we were there. She looked right at John and me and I saw recognition in her eyes. But she was in severe pain because the nurses had come in and moved her. That was the hardest part for me. I couldn't stand to see her suffering like that.

The next morning, I got a call just before 10:00 that the doctor had told my cousins to call all the family and tell them to come if they wanted to see her. Her blood pressure was dropping and she would soon be slipping away. We were in Evansville, but got in the car immediately and headed for Mt. Carmel. We didn't get there in time to see her again. But I was so thankful she was no longer suffering.

We left the hospital with my cousins and went to Grandma's house to pick out clothes for her to wear. When we opened the closet, I saw some of my mom's blouses still hanging there. That was my emotional trigger, I guess. I remembered how long I kept my mother's clothes hanging in my own closet (even after I stopped wearing them). I can't even imagine how hard it must have been for my grandma to lose two of her three children so premmaturely, outliving them by so many years. My Uncle Gene has been gone for ten years now, having died from ALS. My mom died from colon cancer twenty-one years ago. My grandma died on my parents' fifty-second wedding anniversary.

We came home this morning and we'll go back Monday for the visitation that evening and the funeral on Tuesday morning. My grandma lived a long life and enjoyed good health for most of it. She had osteoporosis and had developed some memory issues the last few years. But considering her age, she was living a blessed life. To live to be 91 and still be in your own home is a rare blessing. I'm thankful for that. She was a strong and determined woman, my grandma. She was a no-nonsense kind of person. I think she had three knee replacements and came through all of them beautifully because she faithfully did her physical therapy and pushed right through her pain. She was definitely an inspiration in that department. I think she could do just about anything she set her mind to.

Even when someone lives to be 91 and you know the end of a life is approaching, there are always emotions that come over you like a tidal wave; emotions you can't really anticipate. I'm feeling that emotion right now. I'm also tired and fighting a sinus infection.

Despite the sad occasion, I'm looking forward to seeing some family that I don't see often. I'm thankful for my family. It's easy for emotional distance to grow when life takes family members in different directions. But life has a way of reconnecting you. Sometimes it's through a sad occasion. But God has redemptive purposes in everything He takes us through. I'm thankful for that.

Please pray for us and our families as we go through the next few days and bury our Grandma Annalea. I have no doubt there will be some stress along with the emotion for some of us. I already feel a little bit of anticipatory anxiety. But God's grace is sufficient in every situation.

Comments

justme said…
Shari, I'm sorry to hear you lost your beloved grandma. She sounded like a rare gem. I'll be praying for you and your family as you go through the next several days. Take care.
Rachel said…
Shari-
I am so deeply sorry about the loss of your dear grandma. I will be thinking of and praying for you and your family.

With much love,
Rachel

My grandma died 12 years ago today.
Shari,
My prayers are with you-
It is so hard to lose the matriarch of your family.
Lynda said…
Shari,
Im so sorry to hear of your grandma gone home. We will be praying for you and your family.
She was a special person.

Our Love,

Lynda
Lynda said…
Shari,
Im so sorry to hear of your grandma gone home. We will be praying for you and your family.
She was a special person.

Our Love,

Lynda