Last week, Janie’s grandmother died. It wasn’t altogether unexpected, but really sad nonetheless. Janie was her only grandchild and they shared a very special bond. In the last years, as her memory steadily declined, she moved to a beautiful home in Oregon where she was cared for around the clock by a family. Janie and her parents drove down for a visit this summer, a visit that would be their last chance to hold her and kiss her and tell her how much she was loved and missed.
She was 92 years old. She’d almost passed away several times over the last year and so it wasn’t a shock that she slipped away peacefully, with a smile on her face. It wasn’t a shock, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. She was loved, deeply, by Janie and she loved Janie, deeply, in return.
There are some relationships we have that are extraordinarily special, and I believe Janie and her grandmother shared on of those. Janie has always felt guilty for not being able to visit her more after she moved away. I try to reassure her that their bond was deep enough that her grandmother knew how she missed her, how great her love was for her and how sad she was not be be closer to her at any given moment. Even when her memory failed her, she must have known, in some way, that she was well loved. Even now, in whatever comes at the end of our lives, she knows that Janie has never stopped missing her, and never will.
I’ve spent some time trying to be a good shoulder to cry on when Janie has needed it. We’ve had some good talks and I like to think I’ve helped in cheering her up if only a little bit. In retrospect, however, bringing this book home on Friday night was probably a bad idea: