The first emotion I felt was disbelief. I knew my grandma was sick. I knew she was in the ICU, but I didn't know her cancer was stage IV, not stage I, or that her organs were shutting down. Only after I was told she'd died did I know this.
The tears came next as I tried to make sense of it all. My crying mother, her voice unusually high, described how it happened: The doctors told my grandmother she was dying and there was nothing they could do, but she didn't believe them. She'd fight this. She'd get better. She said good-bye before falling asleep surrounded by her loved ones, fully expecting to see them again. She never woke up. Her tired heart slowed until it stopped beating. My mom held her hand till the last beat.
Grandma's death was a horrible one, long and painful. I'm glad she isn't suffering any longer, but I'm sad that my youngest children won't remember Great-Grandma's high-pitched gasp of laughter or her firm kisses on the mouth. I'll miss both.
I cannot express how grateful I am that I know this is not the end. I will see my grandma again.
I look forward to celebrating her life with my family and her friends at the funeral. Her name was Joy, and she was that—a joy.
Joy Stone October 26, 1937—September 21, 2011