“you should go see nana next week.” he spoke in a low voice, leaning close to me in the back seat of the car. that was last week. Matthias & I made plans to go back together to Austin to visit again, but it was apparent he wasn’t going to be able to make the trip anytime soon. I should go anyway, he would come next time. he knew I was dreading leaving without him. not because of the destination, just traveling without him is hard.
he reminded me how happy I was going to be as soon as I arrived and was with nana & we were talking again for hours & hours, just like we had last time. she’s so sharp & a great conversationalist. he’s right, he’s always right. he would come next time. so I made plans, still sad he wasn’t joining me, but thankful for the nudge. I didn’t know I was leaving to be beside nana when she left earth.
I really thought we’d drink more coffee & talk about her years as a teacher, her favorite books, music. but she wasn’t talking when I arrived yesterday. not anymore. she hadn’t said anything or eaten anything in two days. I couldn’t believe it. why hadn’t anyone told me she was so close to heaven? I... had no idea.
it was just us last night. Nana, Papa Norman, Kate & me in their quiet house with the odd noises of an oxygen tank bubbling.. was it bubbling? it that how’d you describe it? it was a new addition as of a couple days ago too. like this hospital bed in the living room. when did this happen? the day before, I’m told. how had so much changed so quickly? I don’t understand. if I hadn’t gone on this trip, I wouldn’t have known any of this was happening. I wouldn’t have known. I wouldn’t have been there. I don’t understand.
Kate & I read to nana for hours last night. we played piano. Kate sang. we listened to her favorite soundtracks and held her hand. I blew up the air mattress in the living room next to her & told nana we were having a sleepover with her. but there wasn’t sleep. I didn’t want her to be alone during her time. she didn’t look at me. she didn’t even open her eyes one time, but I know she was listening. we didn’t leave her side. “you are not alone” was what I probably said the most. likely because that’s my greatest fear. truly being all alone. she couldn’t go like that.
this afternoon I called a hospice nurse to let her know nana was gone. I’ve never witnessed death. nobody plans for their first time. I certainly hadn’t considered I’d have to be the responsible one.
it was just me, my 15 year old sister, and the 89 year old love of nana’s life. weren’t doctors supposed to scramble to save her? but no, not at 93. exactly a week before her 94th birthday. this was peaceful, in her home, with her great granddaughters. no medical staff present.
I wasn’t prepared for this. we were going to drink coffee & talk. death. that wasn’t going to be a part of this trip. I... I don’t know what to say.
Papa Norman was the last person to talk to nana. he told her how much he loved her. that she was the only person in the world for him. and he cried bitterly. and I cried with him.