We did know just how soon it would be after Mom's funeral, that we would be together again at yet another one. This time it would be Grandma Vera, Mom's mother. It was February 16th that we received a call that she was not doing well and may have had a stroke. And sure enough, a second phone call came, only 2 days later, telling us that Grandma had died. She had not lived even two and a half months more than Mom. We were so sad to lose Grandma, to lose another family member, and to lose yet another piece of Mom. It was so hard to muster up the energy, the emotions, the thoughts needed to do it all over again. Just the thought of it was almost too much to bear. But, we knew we had to go and that we had to be there. And I knew, somehow, that we would get through it.......and we did. Joy and I were even somehow able to read a poem about Heaven that Grandma had written only months before. What an honor.
Dad, Joy, and I traveled up to North Carolina for the service. It was so hard to be at another funeral so soon after Mom's, so hard to face death again, so hard to sit around with all of Mom's family witout having Mom there with us. It was our first trip without her, and we missed her so much it hurt. It just made things more than real. And although an extremely difficult task it did prove to be, it also served as another step in our grieving process that we were already in.
This whole other story about Grandma Vera had also been taking place in our lives, simultaneously, as if what we were already experiencing was not enough. The story of Grandma was a sub-plot to our main one. It inter-linked, over-lapped, and confused matters all the more. While Mom was having her most difficult months battling her cancer, Grandma was also having some very tough months of her own. She had experienced a fall, broke her hip, been in the hospital, undergone surgery, and been moved to a rehabilitation center. She was having her own battles, physically and emotionally as well. We all knew that Mom was the one who usually took care of her and she was obviously not able to continue doing that anymore. And no matter how hard we tried to help Grandma, we could never fill Mom's shoes. We dispersed our energy between the two as best we could, but were relieved when two of Mom's siblings stepped in to assist the tired troops.
The day came when we finally had to tell each of them, Mother and Daughter, about the other's conditions and how serious they each were. We had tried to "protect" them from the worst of things as best we could, but the inevitable was coming, and it was coming all too quickly. They had to see each, and nothing was hidden anymore. They met once more, and said their final goodbyes to each other, until they would meet again.......in a much more glorious place that this earth can not provide. And although Grandma had her good days and bad ones after that day, she would never completely bounce back from her fall and all that she experienced. She knew the days for Mom were getting short and she hated the thought of having two of her daughters precede her in death. She was just missing something. She was missing her will to fight, missing her will to live. She was missing Mom. Many days she ached and prayed to go "home" to Heaven, where they would be reunited once again. And sooner than we all would have thought, God answered her prayer.