so, when i boarded the plane on wednesday night, i was excited, anxious, hopeful, and mostly just ready to see my Mimi. dad met me at the airport in Atlanta and drove me straight to Mimi's house in Asheville to see her that night. there was no guarantee she'd make it to thursday morning and i couldn't bear the thought of being so close and not seeing her in time. we showed up at midnight and i was able to see her, hold her hand, and talk to her....and just tell her that i loved her. i laughed at the picture of me as a junior in high school all decked out for our jr/sr banquet that was placed by her bed in a "leave your own voice message for someone you love" frame. hysterical! but cute at the same time. i'm thankful dad decided to take me that night. he didn't have to. it was late. we were tired. but he knew (and so did i) that it was more important to go see Mimi than to "not disturb her" and "get some sleep" and "just wait until the morning."
i saw her again on Thursday.....Thanksgiving!! my family ate our usual Thanksgiving dinner at our house (Gran and my friend Lo joined us) and then we headed over to Mimi's to say hi to my mom's side of the family that was all gathered to eat over there. i slipped away into Mimi's room to see her that afternoon, but she was unresponsive again like the night before. sad and heartbreaking to see her that way, but still so glad i was able to hold her hand and talk to her. not the Mimi i know and love, but still my Mimi. i left that evening knowing that she's a fighter, but that she was ready to be home. really home. it was time.
Friday night i went by Mimi's house again to celebrate my cousin's 5th birthday party. Bella is quite possibly the cutest little 5 year old i've ever met!!
but before i left, i slipped into Mimi's room to give her a goodnight hug and remind her that I loved her and wished she could have joined us at Bella's birthday party. Mimi always loved parties....the more the merrier!! that night was the best i'd seen her out of those 3 days. she was able to look at me and mumble back that she loved me too and thanked me for coming to see her. priceless words since i knew it was such a struggle for her to get them out. no one else was in the room. just me and Mimi. our final, precious moments together. i choked back the tears, swallowed hard, squeezed and stroked her hand one more time, and then gave her one final kiss on the forehead before i said goodnight and then left. little did i know that i was really saying goodbye for the last time. i had a feeling, but those are the kind of feelings you push aside and don't allow yourself to dwell on.....just hoping that somehow pushing them aside will keep reality from hitting you square in the face. it did though, and it hit hard.
the phone rang on saturday. i knew. mom and dad immediately went into business mode arranging everything and taking care of the endless details. dad helped me change my flight from sunday to tuesday. i needed to stay. my family needed me there. work could wait. monday was tough. seeing my uncle sob was one of the most gut-wrenching moments of my life. his loss is so much deeper than mine in so many ways. i hurt for him.
it's still hard. i loved my Mimi so much! she was one of my biggest fans......even though in her later years she thought i was a basketball player. hardly!....i'm still not coordinated enough to run and dribble at the same time. Mimi always wanted me to play basketball just like her. and she always asked me why i wanted to move so far away to live in Missouri when she was in North Carolina. i've been bitten with the travel bug to try and do as much as i can and see as many places as i can. i know where i got it. she had it too.
it's going to be tough going home next time knowing that Mimi isn't there. Mimi's house is still Mimi's house, but Mimi won't be in her favorite chair in the corner at the dining room table this time. it's tough to lose someone you love so dearly who has been there for so many milestones in your life, yet you just wish she could be here for so many more.
[me, Mimi, and Anna last Christmas at Mimi's house]
i still remember going to Mimi's house before my first day of kindergarten to show off my new school dress. and even better is the fact that Mimi's driveway is where i accepted Christ with mom in the back of the mini-van at a ripe old age of three. it's also the driveway where i broke my arm rollerblading while mom and dad were down the street packing boxes for us to move across town. my Mimi and Papa were the best grandparents a kid could ask for. i mean, they gave me m&ms when i broke my arm and i got to ride in the front seat of their cadillac when mom took me to urgent care that night!! they're together again now though and neither one of them are in pain. and Mimi's not confused anymore......now i guess she remembers that i play volleyball and not basketball. :)
it's all tough to swallow. it hurts. there are still tears. there probably will be for a while. it's a deep hurt......an ache, a loss. but i have a Rock to lean on, a foundation that is sure and strong (Psalm 62:6). a God that is in control, one who is Sovereign over all (Psalm 103:19). i have hope (Psalm 62: 5). after 87 years, Mimi finished her race. she fought hard and she kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). one day i'll finish my race too, and i'll join her in the winner's circle.
until then, i cling to the knowledge that His love is better than life, and i will continue to praise Him (Psalm 63:3).
live unashamedly. laugh uncontrollably. love unconditionally.