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.