Life Changes in an Instant: When We Are Faced With the Possibility of Losing a Loved One During the Holidays

The first day of Autumn has come and gone. Years of experience tells me that it is a downhill slide into the holiday season. The time of hustle and bustle has arrived.
The streets, malls and restaurants will all be filled to capacity. It is the season of memories and family traditions and for some, a season of loss.

This is the time of year when I long for my childhood. The holidays were easy and carefree back then. My biggest concern was whether or not Santa Claus would remember exactly which doll or bicycle I wanted. I knew I would be with my family for every single holiday.
Adulthood can take away much of the innocence and joy of the season. Family dynamics enter the picture and all of a sudden time with family has to be scheduled carefully as not to hurt feelings. There are also work schedules to be considered that remove the freedom of travel or long visits out of state. What used to be an exciting time of year becomes the season of scheduling nightmares.

For many years my tradition has been to spend Thanksgiving with my “Granny” and Christmas with my mom, Step-dad, aunt, cousins and step-family in Nevada.
This worked well up until a few years ago when my work schedule and the cost of boarding two dogs interfered with Christmas travel plans. We again have had to make scheduling adjustments. Christmas is now celebrated earlier in December and typically with just my mom and Step-dad. Fortunately, I have wonderful friends who include me in their holiday traditions so I am not alone at Christmas.

This year it is my Thanksgiving plans that will look much different. My grandmother has lived at The Wellington, an assisted living community, for the last thirteen years. She has lived independently in her own apartment, taken care of herself and walked with only the aide of a cane. We have enjoyed many delicious Thanksgiving meals at The Wellington sitting with the same group of ladies and their families each year. It has become our tradition.

On September 19, 2012, I received the type of call I have always been dreading. My grandmother had fallen in her bathroom and was being taken by ambulance to Mission Hospital. The four hours in the emergency room were an emotional roller coaster. I have never seen my grandmother sick and now I was hearing her yell out in pain. First I was told she would need surgery for a hip fracture. You can imagine how frightening the thought of a ninety-eight year old, ninety-four pound woman undergoing surgery was to me.

Once given the “good” news that she had pelvic fractures that would not require surgery, I thought this would not be too bad. The next day they got her up and sitting in a chair and she was nicknamed “Wonder Woman” by the physical therapy team. It runs in my grandmother’s family to bounce back from illness or injury so my mindset was extremely positive. I thought after a few weeks in The Covington’s Rehabilitation Facility she would be ready to return to her apartment with a caregiver.

I’ve spent countless hours with my “Granny” over the last two weeks since her fall. It is horrifying to see how much a traumatic fall can change an elderly individual. I have seen her in a heightened state of confusion. I have seen her angry. I have seen a more loving side towards me than I have in years. I have seen her grow very tired.  I never know what I am going to walk in and find.

And so I enter this holiday season with much bigger concerns than scheduling. I am prepared for whatever God has planned for my grandmother.
I trust Him with her healing and will make the necessary arrangements for the full-time caregivers she will now be unable to live without.
Though it brings tears just writing it, I trust Him if his decision is to take her home to heaven.  It is selfish of me to want to hold on to her longer if she can live out eternity with her mind and body restored.

Many of my dearest friends have lost loved ones around the holidays and I know that these feelings of pain and sentimentality are by no means unique to my situation.

Perhaps you’ve walked in these shoes, if you have you can probably relate to the list below.

These are just a few of the emotions that have hit me at any given moment over the last couple of weeks.

FEAR– This fear is mostly of the unknown.  Will Granny get to go back to her apartment? What will her quality of life be?

ANGER– I have had days where anger comes out towards my father for choosing to take his life when I was a child.  These decisions pertaining to my grandmother should be ours to share.

LOSS OF IDENTITY– I have cared for my grandmother since I was old enough to drive.  She has been such a major part of my life during good times and bad.  I thought I would be relieved when this day came, but it is quite the opposite.

GUILT– Why didn’t I spend this much time with her before she was hurt?  All she wanted was time and I was busy with work and living my life.

SADNESS– That she is only able to tell me how much she loves me through the staff.  I hear how much she brags about me when I am not there.  She tells the nurses how much I love her but these are not conversations that she will have with me directly.

As I mentioned in my post on Depression, I am not seeking sympathy by sharing my life experiences.  I know many people have gone through or are currently going through what I am.  My goal is to create a forum where we can share our stories and support others.

Have you lost an important family member during the holiday season?

How did that loss change your holiday traditions?

How do you continue to honor that person each year?

Lori

About Lori

I was born in Long Beach, raised in Cypress and ventured to South Orange County in 1999. I’m a member of Saddleback Church and through volunteering in the Memorial Ministry I was introduced to Neil O’Connor. Neil decided to bring me on board even despite my endless badgering at our first meeting. I am the Director of Care Coordination and also fill the roles of Memorial Marker Design Specialist, Weekend Receptionist and Blog Team Member. Never did I expect a mortuary would be the place I would find my dream job. I feel extremely blessed by the relationships I have formed at O’Connor with the team and the families we are privileged to serve. I now live in Aliso Viejo with my beloved pups Max and Bella. Free time, though often hard to come by, is mostly spent with friends. The Bible verse I live by – I can do everything through him who gives me strength Philippians 4:13

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  • Hi Lori –

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. I know it is not easy to share the difficult times with others, especially on a blog.
    Holidays are challenging enough when all of our family is still alive. Once we have a death in our family the holidays make life so much more challenging. I have not walked the path you have, yet in time we all will know what life is like when you are missing a family member during the holidays. Holidays and deaths make us stop and think about where are we in our in the bigger picture called life. They both can have great impact on us if we stop and take stock of our true selves. Change can be profound if we allow it to be!

    • Lori

      Hi Neil,

      Holidays, death and milestones definitely make us take inventory of our lives. I recently had a milestone birthday. This paired with this journey I am on with my grandma has definitely made me look at how I am living my life. Sometimes we forget what is truly important.
      I agree, I need to be willing to embrace change more willingly.
      Fortunately, when the time comes for you to go through this walk your amazing family will be alongside you.

      I appreciate your encouragement and support Neil.
      You and the rest of the team have been amazing in allowing me time off to be with my grandmother when she was in the hospital and first got to rehab. I will always be grateful for that.

  • Lori,
    This kind of loss is something I know all too well. Since I can remember Thanksgiving has been associated with the death of my mom’s dad who passed away from a heart-attack Thanksgiving evening after all the family had gone home. From stories & pictures I know he was a sweet & gentle man but I was so young & don’t have any memories of my own. I can remember, however, my dear mom listening to Manheim Steamroller’s “Silent Night” & crying every time she hears it – it was her dad’s favorite song. Her grief ushered in my own & I ached for her.
    In 2006 my dad’s dad died just 2 days before Christmas of a horrible cancer that robbed him of his faculties, his vibrance & his life. His death was traumatic, a huge loss for me personally, and something I’m still not “over”.

    In many ways I don’t like that my holidays are marked by my grandfather’s deaths. I hate seeing my parent’s in pain, I hate re-living those devastating emotions, and what I hate the most is the feeling that I need to be “happy” or pulled back into “holiday cheer” when I don’t feel it & resent it a bit. Those feelings have lessened over the years but I still struggle to grieve & remember in the way I want each year as it’s become easier over time to ignore the pain instead of looking at it & acknowledging the losses.

    I know you’re in a difficult place right now & here I am pouring out my own heart. But I want you to know that the way you are walking into this holiday season is scary, I’ve felt some of that & I sincerely wish this could be different for you. This is going to be hard, probably one of the more difficult things you experience and while none of us can truly be in your shoes, we know the awkward & unfairness of enduring a death during a time when we are supposed to be happy.
    You are in my prayers & thoughts and I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to recount my history & the refocus that telling those stories gave me. I’m going to set aside time this year to remember, be thankful, & to cry.

    I love you Lori & I wish “granny” all the best.

    • Lori

      Molly,

      The whole idea for this post was to create a forum where we can help and support each other.
      Please do not apologize for reliving what is still painful for you.
      I love when I put myself out there and in return you all share with me. It is a way for us to connect on a level that we may never have the chance to do otherwise.

      Thank you for your love, support and encouragement.
      Writing helps me through difficult times. I am thankful for this way to get it out and for you encouraging me when I am not sure I should share certain posts.

      Love you,
      Lori

  • Lori, thank you for this post. Interesting that we have connections through Saddleback (Dr. Tim Harlow is the senior pastor of my church, Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, Ill., and travels to Saddleback frequently to meet with Rick Warren during visits with his daughter who attends Biola University) and Neil O’Connor. Selected Independent Funeral Homes is my client and I met Neil, a Selected member, when asked to speak on social media at Selected’s annual conference. I used the O’Connor blog in my case study and Neil shared his social media experience during my session.

    Though I’ve been following this blog for awhile now, I felt compelled to comment on your post because we lost my father-in-law on December 9, 2007. He was in the hospital in Virginia at the time (admitted while on a long visit with my brother-in-law and his family in Alexandria). We already had our tickets to fly out for Christmas but God called him home before then. After his passing, my mother-in-law decided to remain in Alexandria where she had a full-time caregiver and was able to live at home with very early Alzheimer’s symptoms.

    We struggled through that Christmas and the following, and my mother-in-law had a tough time coping with the loss. In 2010 we flew out to Alexandria to spend Christmas all together as a family (for the first time in years). We arrived on Wed. the 22nd and, with no illness leading up to it, my mother-in-law unexpectedly passed away on Christmas Day. She was 89 years old. While opening presents that afternoon she said she just felt “off” and a little warm. My brother-in-law insisted she go to the ER in case she had the flu and could be treated early. That evening, just hours later, we all went to say goodnight to her and she went into full cardiac arrest just before were reached her bedside. The doctors were unable to revive her.

    I can’t express what that evening and the following days were like or having her funeral on New Year’s Eve, with the entire family gathered in our home back in the Chicago area, where she was laid to rest. Needless to say, the holiday is forever changed. But we now that Ernie and Ellie are now reunited and that both were called home to be with their Lord. We also know that those few days before Christmas and being able to go to Christmas Eve service with her were priceless experiences for which we are forever grateful.

    Lori, as you go through this season with your grandmother just cherish the gift you’ve been given to be with her and have those precious moments and hours, regardless of her spirits at the time. Know that she loves you and express the same to her. You will be comforted to have had that opportunity no matter how much longer your time is with her. You are absolutely correct in your acknowledgement of giving it up to God; pray for peace with His decision.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Lisa

    • Lori

      Lisa,

      Thank you so very much for sharing your story with me. Anyone with connections to Rick Warren is a friend of mine.
      I can’t even imagine the pain your family has gone through during the holiday season, twice.
      I am so glad that you have your faith to remind you that they are together, healthy and happy.
      It does not help those of us who are left behind. We never know when the sadness and tremendous sense of loss will hit. Like you said at least we have our sweet memories to comfort us.
      Again, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. I know others will benefit as much as I did from reading it.
      Lori

  • Patricia Kolstad

    Lori
    Thank you for sharing from your heart. I know that putting thoughts and feelings on paper, letting go of the emotions that we experience and writing them down is so very helpful. When my Dad was dying of lung cancer I was heartbroken. He lived in Sun City Arizona, not that far away, but far enough that I couldn’t visit him everyday. I made two trips to visit him weeks before he died. They were the so memorable. I had asked the step-mom to please let me know when the time was close, because I wanted to be there with him. She never called. I received the news with a phone call. She promised him that he could die at home. Unbeknown to me, she sent him to a hospice home and he died alone with no family there with him. I was hurt, angry, ready to take someones head off. It was the most devastating experience I had ever endured. Please note the word “endured”. Even now as I share this with you my heart aches so deeply it’s hard for me to breathe. I miss my dad – but I miss him with love. You too will endure, Lori.
    You will pass through all those emotions you have talked about, and you may experience them over and over. As you know, that’s part of the “saying goodbye”. Know that you have me and a myriad of others that will be there to support you, love you, and acknowledge your pain, now and as you begin this journey.

    Thank you for this. It makes me realize once again, that when we lose someone so dear, the pain of the loss never leaves us. But love does endure, and sweet memories will bring a smile to your face when you remember Granny.

    I love you,
    MP

    • Lori

      MP,

      I saw you this morning right after you wrote this and know how raw these emotions still are.
      You called it about putting it to paper. I HAD to write this while I am in the midst of it. I needed an outlet to express these emotions. Neil is going to start charging me a therapy fee.
      I am so sorry about your Dad. I know you had to have been quite the Daddy’s girl. I am certain he adored you as we all do.
      Thank you for the support you have given me already and I know you will continue to give.

      Love you!
      Lori

  • Carrie Bayer

    Lori, you are an amazing granddaughter. I know I say it over & over but it’s true. Your fears are just what I felt when I was caring for my grandmother. Facing a possible death during the holidays is so difficult & it changes the meaning of the holiday forever. My grandpa died just after Valentine’s Day & my grandma died the day after her birthday- not huge holidays but significant days. I always think of them but more so on these days than any other. You are so special, thank you for sharing your journey! XOXOX Carrie

    • Lori

      Carrie,
      I am so thankful for you. You shared your story of how you cared for your grandmother right after this happened to mine. You helped me to know I will get through it just as you have.
      It does not need to be the official “holiday season” in order for the pain to be on a grand scale.
      Pain is pain no matter the time of year.
      You are pretty special yourself!
      Love you,
      Lori

  • Mark

    Lori….Thanks for sharing with us about the journey you are on….I heard Pastor Rick say one time that is not our actions but our reactions that matter….your reaction was admirable….keep up the good attitude….Mark

    • Lori

      Mark,
      I appreciate having you being there when I need to talk. I wouldn’t change our friendship for anything. It has been an interesting year of twists and turns for both of us. It helps knowing I have people like you that will be there when she goes and I fall apart.

      The best brother I never had and never wanted!!!!!!
      Lori

  • Lori,

    Thank you for pouring out your heart for the rest of us. Yes many have walked the walk but not many have the courage to open up and talk about it. I’m sure your story will help others that feel like their journey is a solo one. The holidays can bring on so many emotions, it is always good to share them and release. I know it is tough when we do not get the feedback wanted from a particular relationship, we all want it and need it. However know that you are doing your all and sharing your love without limits, that is what counts and hopefully you feel that deep in your heart.
    Love,
    Chuck

    • Lori

      Chuck,

      I am feeling it deep in my heart. Even if she is not fully present mentally, she feels my hand holding hers and my cheek against her cheek. She has never been very affectionate, however, she seems to be eating up the attention now.
      Your family is very lucky because I am certain they know how much you love them. I’m sure you tell them often.
      As I told Neil, I do not know what I would have done without all of your support. You allowing me to be with her has been huge. You guys already held a special place in my heart and it has gotten bigger through this experience.
      Love you,
      Lori

  • Shayna Mallik

    Lori,
    Wow, Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It breaks my heart to see you going thru this. I see how you light up when there is a good day for your grandma and she has the twinkle in her eyes, and I also see the sadness and heart break in you when there are her not so good days. I have been sending tons of prayers and love to you and your grandma. I know how hard it is to go thru this anytime but especially during the holidays. I have lost my uncle near the holidays last year. It was a surprise when we got the call and never wish for any family to get that call. As im sure I have told you my uncle was murdered. I still remember that day, I was at work and got the call from my dad and he said, you need to come home now, just get home safe and now. I remember just asking why what is wrong, and he wouldn’t tell me. I think I knew it was not good and started rushing to gather my things and crying freaking out. When I got home I found out, my uncle was murdered and was gone. This happened October 26, 2011 in Florida. I never even got to say good bye or anything. My mom was just crying and screaming why, it was her baby brother. We immediatley jumped in the car and drove to Vegas (where my grandma lived) to be with her and all our family there. Then a few days later flew to Pittsburgh where the funeral was held. It was also my first ever funeral. I hated life during this time and stayed strong and wouldn’t let my family see me cry because I knew how much they would cry even more. That doesn’t mean I hid my emotional I just let them out when I was alone. The thing that helped me was being with my family and having my friends supporting me. Brad, was amazing during this, He just was there for me when I returned and just would hold me and not leave me alone. You have all this support as well!!! We are all here for you for the good and the bad no matter what. If you need anything please dont hesitate to let me know, I will do anything to help you! You are so strong. Love you so much!

    • Lori

      Little Miss,
      I do remember you sharing the story of your uncle with me when you first started. I know those emotions are still very raw for you. I admire your tremendous attitude. You are always cheerful. It makes the days I get to be with you so enjoyable. Your joking with me yesterday made me forget for awhile all of this is going on.
      I do know without a doubt you would be there in an instant if I called you. I feel we share a special bond and I am so grateful for you. You will always be my “Little Miss”. That’s my favorite nickname for you and it is sticking.
      I’m thinking of you this weekend too. Post pictures so I can see!
      Love you right back kiddo!!!!
      Lori

  • Iris

    Lori, thank you for sharing your journey with us, as difficult as that may be. I know it’s hard, but you’re creating a space where we can share the human experience.

    In 2007, my 96 year old mother-in-law, Mary, was on hospice care at home and in the process of dying through the holidays. She was the family matriarch, the glue the held the family together. The family tradition was to gather at her home to make tamales the week before Christmas. We decided to uphold the tradition even though we knew her time with us was nearly over. She was bedridden, medicated, her dementia was present more often than not, she barely spoke and was no longer eating. But her eyes sparkled when we talked about shopping for “tamale day”.

    The Saturday before Christmas we got Mary out of bed, put her robe on, seated her in her wheelchair, and wheeled her to the kitchen table where we put her apron on. As the family arrived we experienced the most amazing thing. Mary was vibrant with life! Her memory was intact, she conversed with everyone, sang songs, and hugged and kissed her great-grandchildren. The memory of that miraculous day still brings tears of joy to my eyes. Mary died peacefully, surrounded by her family 4 days after Christmas. Mary had a good life and was ready to go, so I think the overwhelming emotion I had at the time was one of emptiness. But each of us will always be grateful to have seen her joy and for the final memories we all have of her from that last tamale day. That tradition is still carried on by the family. Thanks for letting me share…

    • Lori

      Iris,

      Thank you so much for sharing your special story. What a beautiful way to get to say goodbye.
      Even though it was difficult to lose her right after Christmas, what a blessing that you had one last year to experience holiday traditions with her. I can only hope to have the same experience this year. It would be lovely to spend a similar time at Thanksgiving with my Grandma where we participate in our tradition one last time.
      Your story truly gave me goosebumps when I read it because it is so special.
      Thank you,
      Lori

  • Anne Collins

    Lori
    I know that this traumatic time will open up wounds, but it will also heal them. Like a boil that has sealed over and it becomes so painful that we go to the doctor to see if something can be done. What do they do but open it up again and lance it. That is gross, but it reminds me of how we seem to heal from buried pains of the past.
    Something has to happen to bring it to the surface to where it is very painful again, sometimes more so than in the beginning. When we open it up as you have been doing, it is, in essence, lanced. Healing then occurs where it wouldn’t have otherwise.
    My prayers are with you. You are a strong woman and a faithful grand-daughter. God sees it all and His comfort is as near as a whisper.
    Love you
    Anne

    • Lori

      Anne,
      I love your analogy and feel there is so much truth in this. Something always manages brings old wounds back to the surface.
      I think God’s timing is perfect that I will be seeing Beth Moore live this weekend. I need to immerse myself in prayer which will make me feel closer to God when I need him most.
      If I have to go through this I am thankful to be surrounded by people like you.
      Love you,
      Lori

  • Jeff

    Lori,

    This is a tough one for me to respond to. As Molly wrote earlier, my father-in-law died Thanksgiving eve in 1986. He was just 56 years old. The call came through at about 2:00 AM and we were living at the mortuary at the time. It was common to receive calls at any hour notifying us of a death, but this call came in on our private line. My wife answered the phone and it was one of her sisters calling but she wanted to talk to me. Frankly I was a little annoyed that she would not talk to Karen directly, yet I took the call. Shock doesn’t even begin to describe the psychosomatic reactions that followed. After I hung up the phone I told Karen. I recall a few minutes later sitting on the bathroom floor reeling from the news and being very nauseated. I was surprised by the holistic reaction my being was undergoing. Just a few minutes earlier I was asleep and feeling just fine.

    We collected our selves as best we could, left Molly who was 11 months old at home with my parents who happened to be spending the night. We decided to notify my youngest sister-in-law in person and not over the phone since she was living alone. More trauma was realized with her. We proceeded to make the drive we had actually planned to make later that day. The expectation of gathering at my in-laws home with family and great food had been spastically transformed into the necessity for me to make funeral arrangements with my newly widowed mother-in-law around what should have been a table of celebration. The double edged sword of being an embalmer director when a death occurs in your family was now being revealed to me.

    Just a few weeks before my father-in-law’s death, my in-laws had come to visit and having just finished a new casket selection room that was accessed through the entry way into our apartment, we went in and showed them the display. My father-in-law commented on how much he liked a particular light blue metal casket that he saw. It was, in fact, the casket that he would be viewed, honored and laid to rest in.

    After making the arrangements at their home, we took the long drive back to the mortuary apartment. On the way I was overcome by the realization that so many expectations of visits, vacations, road trips, air shows and just life with my father-in-law would never happen. Arriving home I went immediately to the care center to see him. My boss had done the legwork that day of picking him up from the hospital and embalming him. It was a surreal, but familiar place. It is where I worked and were I had already embalmed and cared for so many others, some of whom I knew during their lives.

    Fast forward twenty years and to my father’s death on December 23, 2006. He had been failing in recent months but remained ambulatory up until the day before his death. He did not want others to have to do the kind of care for him that is so often needed as the body fails. In one instance, my adopted brother from the Palau Islands came to be with us. He and I together, helped my father to the bathroom while the ladies in the family had a day away. As children, you could never imagine that life could possibly lead you to such a moment. There was a sense though that this was right. Two sons caring for their father in such an intimate way. It was right.

    So, Christmas was approaching and it seemed likely that dad would not make it to that day. My sisters came from out of town to care for and comfort both my mom and dad. My mom’s mom, my grandmother had died just three months earlier and my step-father-in-law, just three months before her. It seemed to be an unending season of death and final goodbyes. My father loved Christmas. We worked YMCA Christmas tree lots every year as I was growing up and there were a myriad of memories surrounding the season and my father. On December 22nd we gathered for an early Christmas eve at my parent’s home. My father was in a hospital bed in the living room and by then was not responsive to us. We chose to have Christmas eve in these unusual circumstances because there was a sense that there would be no other opportunity. We gathered as family and shared memories in his presence. Though he could not respond we felt certain that he was participating. Some that only my mom knew of because they were before out time. It was the richest Christmas eve of my life and was about to become one of the hardest times ever for me.

    We said good night and drove the few miles home somber and resigned that his death was close. We weren’t home 45 minutes when my sister called. After we left my mother and sisters readied for bed, kissed a caressed him and said goodnight going to their beds. Within moments they heard his breathing change and when they came to his bedside he was gone. We drove back to the house and as I went in a approached him, it was clear that he had moved out and left his body behind. That precious vessel that carried him through life now had only one final purpose. His body became the focal point, the symbol of a man’s life. That which we gaze upon with fondness. The hands and strong arms that held me on many occasions and carried me half asleep to bed delivering me gently and lovingly there to peaceful sleep. The adventurer, teacher and lover of people. That was the man who used to live there.

    As I had now done with three other family members, I followed him to the mortuary to do what I know how to do. To care for him in a way that only I can. I began the bathing and embalming process at about 1:00 AM. It was peaceful, dark and quiet. As I performed the semi-surgical and artful process that venerates the body that served my father throughout his life, the memories continued to flood my mind. I arrived at home Christmas eve at about 5:00 AM as tired and as sad as I have ever been.

    Later that day my mother and my sisters and I all drove down to the beach together. It was a mild sunny day that seemed unaware of that fact that my father had died. The world was different but normal. We went to the ocean because so much of our lives have been spent on the water sailing. We could see Catalina island where so many hours had been spent enjoying the world the way God made it. It was good to smell the salt air, fell the sand in your feet and in that way honor the memory of the man who had the greatest influence on my life.

    This comment is far too long I know and you probably have the right to charge me for the therapy session it has been writing it. What I know on this side of my life is that we cannot escape these losses. I will not even pray you be spared of the pain of it. It is in the pain that we grow the most.

    I will pray that you do this well and fully, that you dive into the grieving completely. You and I both know you have already begun the journey by anticipating what will inevitably come and now seems closer than you would like. The 23rd Psalm refers to the valley of the shadow of death and though I walk through it, He is with me. He doesn’t help you escape it, He is with you through it.

    Christmas still holds wonderful memories and great expectations of time spent with family and friends. My father’s death only enhanced it’s meaning.

    Blessings to you through this season,

    Jeff

    • Lori

      Jeff,

      I know what you have written here was as therapeutic for you as writing this post was for me.
      When we see others going through the process of losing a family member it brings back all of the emotions from the losses that are still very close to the surface for us.
      I am so thankful that you showed up to the emergency room when I felt so scared and very alone. You were able to decipher what the doctor said when I was basically hysterical.
      I also appreciate your attempt to be the receptionist (cough, cough) when I had to leave that Saturday to get her transferred to The Covington.
      Again I will say it, I work for the most caring bosses anywhere. You have made one of the hardest times of my life much easier because I know I could call on anyone in that building at any time and you would be there for me. That is not work, that is home. Thank you for letting me work for you.
      Blessings to you and many thanks for all the prayers,
      Lori

  • Kari Leslie

    Lori,
    Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your Granny with us. My mom’s mother was my Nana. I spent more time with her the first 10 years of my life than another other family members. She was mine and I was hers. In my childish mind, the sun rose and set on her. Even as I grew older and circumstances changed, whenever I drove away from her, I cried. I was married and the mother of three when my Nana died. You would’ve thought I was that ten year old girl again. I never realized how much losing her would impact my life. Even now, all these years later, the tears come. I miss her sooooo much. She died alone in her home in Hemet. She went to the Riverside Coroner. My life changed forever that day.
    I didn’t get the chance to spend time with her, to say I love you one more time, or color her hair, help her clean up the house, or take Shawn Burger Boy for a walk. Her life, our life together just ended. Every day since has been a step toward healing from that loss.
    Take advantage of every possible second to warm your soul with your Granny.
    Maybe even record her voice!! I wish I would have thought to do that!!
    XOXO
    Kari

    • Lori

      Kari,
      You have shared stories of your Nana with me many times and I know what a special place she held in your heart. My mom’s mom, “Gramma” was a fixture in my life. When we lost her in 1987 it was devastating. I cried every single night when I went to bed. I saw her in dreams. I still do occasionally.
      She was truly my second mom. She took care of me while my mom worked.
      It is does not matter how old we get losing the special members of our family we grew up with hurts. That hurt runs deep and this time of year is just another reminder they will not be with us.
      I do have some videos of my Grandma. I appreciate you suggestion and will take some more.
      xoxo
      Lori

  • Tom

    interesting

    • Lori

      Tom,
      You are a man of few words, but you have really been there for me too. We joke about our “30 second check ins” and I like your great sense of humor. A couple of weekends ago you called in to see what you were scheduled on for Monday. You asked about my Grandma and I knew you were really interested. You listened to me as I shared what I was going through about how afraid I was of all of this.
      I appreciate you!
      Lori

  • amy

    Lori,
    I commend you for what you are doing for your Granny. It is not an easy task but you have dived in with both feet and are giving it 110%. I know it doesn’t seem like she is grateful or even knows your there half the time but believe me she does. Your constant visits and continued care and concern are what is carrying here right now. She is a very lucky lady to have you. You have dedicated yourself to her and taking care of her. Cherish the time that you have because you never know what tomorrow brings. Make sure you tell her you love her even though she already knows.
    I know that this is not an easy thing for you but I assure you in the end you will look back and be very proud of yourself for what you have accomplished. Stay strong in your faith. I’m here for you my friend.
    Amy

    • Lori

      Amy,

      I am grateful to you for giving me the freedom to be with her whenever I feel the need. In a weird way her fall has been a gift to both of us. When she is present, I think she finally gets that I do love her. Our relationship has been challenging and sadly it took something drastic for us to realize how much we need each other.
      Thank you for taking care of things at work so I was able to be with her 110% for the first couple of weeks. It is so much easier going through this with the support of my work family.
      Thank you for everything.
      Lori

  • Betty F

    Lori, I have seen your strengths and your weaknesses and you always come through with a better understanding of why things happen to you. Your insight is amazing in how your live your life. Granny has had a wonderful long life and you made her days easier because of your care and caring love of her. She loves you so very much and appreciates you more than she will every share with you.
    You are a wonderful granddaughter. God will walk with you through the valley and bring you to the other side when the time comes.
    I love you and count you as a big part of my life and family
    Betty F.

    • Lori

      Betty,

      Thank you so much for being so wonderful to me!
      You have listened to the ups and downs of my relationship with Granny. When she and I would go through our periods of not speaking, you were always concerned. You never nagged, but I knew you were worried that something would happen and I would carry the guilt.
      Because of you I was able to enjoy my time away listening to Beth Moore teach this past weekend. You went and looked in on Granny so I would not have to stress about her being alone.
      That is more than a friend, that is family.
      I Love You So Much!!!
      Lori