Sometime on the morning of October 3, my grandmother had a stroke. Grandma Knox had been in poor health for a while, and the stroke was more than even her resilient, stubborn body could take. She went home early Tuesday morning, surrounded by sons and daughters and grand kids. I know it’s hard for most everyone to loose a grandparent, even when they’ve lived a long life and we know the end is right around the corner.
I love Grandma very much. And this was a pretty difficult ordeal for me, just as it was for the rest of the family. Difficult because I love her, difficult because I watched her suffer through her final days–days where every breath was a painful marathon for her, and difficult because I promised my Grandpa just before his own death that I’d care for her when he was gone. Mostly, though, it was tough because I didn’t want to let go.
During the three days where so many were gathered at her bedside, day and night, to comfort her as she walked into the next journey, I found myself tuned in with a pen. It was an outlet for the myriad of emotions I was experiencing, and it gave Grandma one final voice–at least through my perspective. So, I committed to opening up and being an instrument for the words that seemed to want to be born through me. I captured most of them in the back of Grandma’s last journal, a spiral notebook with a blue and brown floral pattern hardcover.
Now, maybe in my last therapeutic grieving step, I’ll share them with you. If you’re in the Knox family, you may have already read some of these. I will post one at a time, in chronological order, every day or so, over the next few. Each will come with a short preface giving some context. I hope they’re helpful, or at least interesting.
I had an opportunity to spend a couple hours alone with Grandma late one night after the stroke. This is when it really sunk in that she was dying before my eyes. I held her hand tightly, and cried a lot by her side. And I wrote this, and read it to her softly:
you are going
through the door
jiggling the handle.
along this anxious journey.
wrapped in a blanket
and life lived long.
the circle has no end
just new beginnings
laying the path
as you walk it.
take with you this kiss
and grip tight my hand
my love wells up as a fountain.