My Grandma's funeral was today. We left town yesterday evening, right after my defence, and drove 10 hours straight arriving in Cardston at around 4:00 in the morning. And just a few hours after that we were at her funeral. A funeral that felt pretty surreal. Because even when you know death isn't the end, it's always incredibly difficult to adjust to a world without someone you love in it.
But strangely I am also feeling grateful. Grateful because I got to be there. Not just at the funeral but a couple weeks earlier too. I got to hold her frail hand and feel her thin fingers tighten around mine. I got to move my thumb back and forth across those prominent varicose veins on the back of it. I got to be there to gently help her out of bed, and into the bathroom. I got to, for those few short days, offer her chap stick when her lips were dry, lift a glass to her mouth when she was thirsty, and brush her hair when she requested it. And all of this felt like a profound privilege.
I got to care for, even for a short time, someone who had always cared so well for me. And I wish I could have stayed longer. I wish I could have dropped everything to savor her grandma-ness while it was still here to be savored. I wish I could have stayed by her side until that last breath left her body. I wish I could have helped make her last weeks and days more comfortable, and better somehow. But for the short time I had with her while she was still laughing, and talking, and smiling, and asking about my schooling, and photography, and plans for the future, I am deeply grateful.
I knew it would be the last time I would see her. And that it would be the last time I would hear her talk about grandpa, and the war, and her childhood dog, and the old days. And it gave me the chance to say goodbye.