January 8, 2013

almost time

Taye called me early during the day yesterday from work. Nothing abnormal for most folks—for husband and wife to converse during the workday—but for Taye it is. He very rarely calls, texts, or emails me from work. He’s generally too busy.

“I had a minute so I just wanted to check in.”


“Have you heard from your mom?”

My stomach drops. My heart starts to race a bit. Tears flood my eyes.

“No, why?!” I notice my voice is a bit loud amidst the stillness of the office. “Have you?”

“No.. No! I just wanted to make sure…I was just thinking about everything.”

He’s referring to Sunday’s 20 minute visit with my mom and grandmother. My grandmother who means absolutely everything to me. My grandmother whose given name is Lovie’s middle name. My grandmother who’s been so very ill for well over a year now. My grandmother who...

…thank goodness I have Lovie because I’m not sure how I’d survive Oma’s passing without her. And according to my mom, that will be happening soon.

 “Earlier she told me, ‘It’s almost time.’” My mom looked away for a moment before continuing, “But then she said that the time wouldn’t be soon enough for her.” My mom’s blue eyes instantly get glossy and bloodshot. “I don’t blame her. I hate watching her like this.”

My mom and I lock eyes. We’ve had this discussion before. We’ve been here before. Waiting. Thinking we’re ready. 
“Is she in pain?”

“She can’t breathe, Christina. She got up today after eleven. She walked over to the couch and had to sit down and hook up to the oxygen. She’s still in her pajamas.”

Oma is 88 and very Old World. One doesn’t wear pajamas any other time than to bed and it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon when we visited.

“Go ahead and wake her.” My mom moved her eyes toward the living room where Oma rested.

I told her I couldn’t.

And I really couldn’t. I couldn’t watch her eyes pry open. I couldn’t watch a sweet smile—the sweetest, kindest smile in the world—spread her thin, pale pink lips across her aging teeth. I couldn’t because she didn’t shake when she slept, she didn’t take laborious breaths when she slept. Instead she just lay there on the couch, gray thin tubes jutting from her nose, wrapping around her ears, trailing off the couch and across the length of the living room to the oxygen tank that rested near her bedroom. She looked so peaceful, her skin ghostly white and paper thin looking.

I stood beside her for a moment, just looking at her. She looked lifeless until I noticed her mauve sweater moving as she breathed in through the oxygen tubes. And I also noticed my stomach dropped a bit and my eyes flooded with tears.

I love her so much.
Oma and Lovie, January 2010

I see so much of her in my Lovie and that makes me incredibly happy and lucky.

We’re all so damn lucky, really: I’ve had 40 years with her, Lovie’s had three, my mom’s had 65. We’re so lucky to have been blessed by this wonderful woman. Her beauty and essence will reign forever more—of this, I have absolute no doubt.

So, it’s OK that’s it’s "almost time." It really is.
My mom can go ahead and make that sickening call to me.


  1. Oh, gosh. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time.

  2. That picture of her and Lovie is SO sweet! I love her smile! I'm sorry to hear that all of this is happening...you all will be in my thoughts and prayers!

  3. You grandma has such a sweet smile. I am so sorry that you are going through this. Sending hugs your way.

  4. oh man! i was there almost exactly a year ago. i'm so sorry. it's the way it's supposed to be, but that doesn't make it easier. it sucks so bad. grandma's hold our hearts and our histories in their hands. no one loves us like they do. they don't make them like that anymore. i can only tell you that i still feel my grandmother with me, all the time. she's in my head and know she's watching over us. just as yours will. xo

  5. Yes, it's so painful to watch what age does to those we love. It's funny those last few days with my dad -- we talked about all the picnics and short family trips we used to take together. When it all boils down in the end, it really is the little things that matter. Enjoy talking with her end though it's hard to see her in that frail condition.

  6. Oh, many hugs. Losing a beloved grandparent hurts. Many, many hugs...

  7. Oh gosh, how sad and upsetting for you.

  8. It is SO hard. Praying for you and your family. You're positive attitude will see you through.

  9. Two posts this week about grandmothers. They are wonderful women who have lived full lives, and deserve to go with dignity, just like you are ready for her to do. But it doesn't hurt any less. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  10. Aw, I'm so sorry Christina. That photo is precious, as I'm sure are all of your wonderful memories. Thinking of you.

    I like your new header!

  11. Honey, you know I know how this is. I am so sorry. The waiting is the hardest part.

  12. I'm crying and am so very sorry for you, Christina. I hope Oma's not in pain and that you and your mom can take comfort in all those years yo had with her.

    Hug on that Lovie when you get home!

  13. This is heartbreaking. What a precious picture of Lovie & Oma.

  14. I'm so, so sorry you're going through this. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  15. What a difficult time for you. I'm so sorry. (I rarely hear from my husband when he's working, too. He's so busy, and that's a good thing!)

  16. My Grandmaman is 98 and so very very tired, so I understand how it feels to watch someone leave you, so slowly, because they're just exhausted and ready to let go. It doesn't make it easy. Every single time my mom calls, I tense up just a little, because I know she won't last forever, no matter how hard i want her to. I'm so glad you got to have so much time with your Oma. Grandmothers are precious.

  17. It's so hard when they know and you know that it's time for them to let go. She is beautiful and I'm so glad Lovie has had this time with her. My daughter had 3 years with my grandma too. She does, at 22, still have a memory of her. I hope Lovie will as well. My heart is breaking for you. Big hug, Christina!

  18. So hard to go through. I'm so sorry. Sending you hugs and peace.

  19. This was a difficult, but beautifully told, post. What a touching tribute to someone who sounds like a truly amazing woman. I also wanted to say I like your new lay-out. The family photo on top is so heartwarming. Best to you and your family.


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