The other shoe

Off and on for the last about seven years now we've been kind of living our life waiting for "the other shoe" to drop so to speak. My grandmother, my mom's mother, has been in poor health pretty much since having surgery from colon cancer about seven and a half years ago. They did get all the cancer at the time of the surgery, but it left her weak and unable to do for herself any longer. She lived with an uncle up here for awhile but as her health continued to deteroriate it was decided that it would be best for her to go live with my Aunt Becky in Austin, MN who had experience with the elderly from working in nursing homes. Then when her cares increased even further, it was found that nursing homes in Austin were cheaper than one would be up here, so that was where she went two years ago.

But as I said, off and on it would be this "waiting for the shoe to drop" - she'd get the flu and land in the hospital, she'd get pneumonia and end up in the hospital, and they'd keep saying "oh I don't know, I don't think she's going to make it this time" yet she'd keep bouncing back, not as strong as before, but would still rally. We joked she was the Energizer bunny.

At Thanksgiving time her blood sugars started going crazy from her diabetes and it was the beginning of the end. The last few months were very much a roller coaster and finally just over a week ago the doctor said the days of her rallying were no more and everything was pretty much shutting down. She had a stroke last Monday, stopped eating and taking meds, and finally the other shoe we've been waiting for has dropped as she passed away very early this morning. She was 96 years old.

It is sad, but yet there is joy because she finally suffers no longer and is at long last reunited with my grandfather who left this world over 30 years ago. That's a long time to be widowed. She also buried two of her 13 children, two more than any parent should ever have to, so she is also with them once again as well.

It's funny, I was watching Betty White on Saturday Night Live this weekend and knowing that any minute I'd be getting that unfortunate phone call, and couldn't help but think my grandma, in her better days, was alot like Betty White. She was a very sweet lady, but she could have a naughty side sometimes!

My favorite story I can remember right now was when I was around 14 or so and had just gotten my braces on. Anyone who has had braces knows that those first few days are super uncomfortable. Anyway, my mom used to take my grandma grocery after school on Thursdays and I was tagging along as I often did to help out (and I'm sure there was a promise of a McDonald's shake for my sore mouth - not going to lie, I did need the bribes sometimes!) and we picked grandma up at the highrise and she and mom were chatting away. Pretty soon grandma says "what's with her, she's quiet today?" referring to me being silent in the backseat. And my mom said "She got her braces yesterday so she's not a happy camper". Grandma turns around and says "Oh let me see?" So I opened my mouth to show her and continued my pout in the backset. Grandma said "well those don't look so bad." And is quiet for a moment. Then she turns around again and said and I quote "you must feel like you have a mouthful of shit!" My own mother was horrified and said "Mother!" And Grandma's like "what? I imagine that it is not the most comfortable thing ever!" And I was in the backseast smiling in spite of the pain. Grandma hit it on the head, that was for sure!

She was always kind of feisty like that and that is how I will choose to remember her. So again, there is sorrow in her passing, but also peace and relief that she is now in a better place. I will miss her and always love her.

In loving memory

Margaret Francis McDermott Miller

January 24, 1914 - May 10, 2010

The legacy - Margaret with some of her 38 odd grandchildren - August 2009

She's the one in the wheelchair, third from the left


simplicity said...

Beth, I am so sorry about your grandmother but it sounds like it has been a long time coming and I hope that there is peace in her death! I also wanted to just say what a beautiful picture of her legacy at the bottom. Not many people can die having such an impact of people on this earth. Wow!

Gina said...

Beth, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandma. She is in a better place and no longer suffering. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.