Last week we attended the funeral of Emi's Granny, Alma Mae Johnson - she was actually her GREAT grandmother and she was the glue that kept the family together. It was bittersweet because she was in a LOT of pain in the weeks and months leading up to her death, so we were happy that she was no longer in pain, but we missed her.
You see, Alma was at the hospital soon after Emi was born. She was there when our extended family showed up to welcome the new baby to our family, and to comfort her granddaughter who had just given up her baby girl for adoption. She put her blessing on the adoption and because she accepted this blessing, the whole family accepted it as well. Out of everyone in the family, we visited most with Granny over the past 7 years. She called us several times a year always asking "How you doing?" in her soft voice and asking about each and every member of the family, never mentioning her condition until you asked and maybe pried a little.
Last year she told us that she had breast cancer and was not seeking treatment; she'd seen what treatment had done for other family members and she didn't want any part of that. She also suspected she had undiagnosed MS, and she was tired all of the time. By the time she'd told family of her cancer, it had spread. She was tired and told us she was ready to go. We saw her at Thanksgiving and she was hardly up for the visit, leaving soon after we arrived with the aid of her daughters, but she was happy to see that we made it to the family gathering.
The next time we saw her was in July and she'd been on Hospice Care at Emi's aunt's house for the last few months. She had just began to accept Morphine and we thought she had only days left. While her body was frail and she was in constant pain, her mind was still very lucid. While a hospice care worker was visiting with Granny in her room, Emi followed me to the bathroom and saw her Granny in her room. Emi asked "Is that my Granny?" because she looked smaller than the last time we'd seen her. Granny caught Emi's expression and it made her cry to see it. Later that visit she told me that she hated for Emi (she called her "Millie") to see her that way. So weak and unable to walk. She knew it upset Emi to see her that way. We had a nice visit and told Granny to just relax and take it all in, not to worry about having to entertain us. Her eyes were closed most of the time, but she heard us talking and I could tell she enjoyed it.
That was a few days before her 67th birthday. She made it to her birthday and much of her family, even sisters from out of state, visited her to celebrate, and say "Goodbye". She passed from this world a few weeks later, and was honored last week with many family members telling their favorite stories about her. Many of her relatives referred to her as a "Waymaker" and I thought that was very apt.
n. One who makes a way; a precursor.