I honestly don’t know where to even start so I’m just going to jump right in. My Grandma Kellum passed away on Sunday, Christmas Eve. A few months ago, she suffered a terrible stroke that I knew she would never recover from. I flew up to Ohio, where she has lived most of her long life, immediately after the stroke and knew it was probably going to be the last time I ever see her or talk to her. I walked into the hospital with Remington (because he could still fly for free) and as soon as we walked in the room, I announced that we were there. I took a seat right next to her bed and the only thing she wanted to do was put her head to my baby’s head. I will never forget that moment. The stroke had ruined her memory, she could not verbalize a complete thought, her eye sight was basically non existent, and worst of all… she wasn’t who I remember. This person was no longer my grandma. Everything that made her who she was, was then gone.
I think losing people you love around the holidays is probably one of the worst things to experience. You want so badly to be happy, joyful, hopeful, loving, etc… but the memory of a death will haunt those feelings every year for the rest of your life. December is now a very difficult month for me. I lost my dad on the 13th of December two years ago, and now I have lost my grandma on Christmas Eve. Double whammy. Double punch to the gut. Double the sorrow. Double the responsibility of making sure my mother is ok.
Growing up, my cousins and I would spend many summers and Christmases at my grandparents house. They lived in a small town right outside of Cincinnati where in the warm months we would ride bikes through the cemeteries with my grandpa, play in the creek behind their house, and catch fireflies every night. In the cold months we would go snow sledding on one of the big hills in their neighborhood, shop at the local department store (Elder Beerman), and ALWAYS eat Cambell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. These memories will always be so special to me.
Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 34 years old and this will be the first year in 34 years that I will not receive a birthday card from Grandma. She was ALWAYS so good at that… remembering birthdays, holidays, my son’s firsts anything… there was always a card. I’m sad that Remy will not have a 1st birthday card from Great Grandma Nancy Kellum. Grandma died at 94 years old. That’s a good, long life. My husband asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I told him I just want to go have a nice dinner. Just the two of us. Don’t really feel like celebrating… my mom’s not here, I’m hosting Remy’s birthday party on Saturday so don’t want to mess the house up, and really, 34 is not really that great of a birthday. It’s nothing special. Then I started thinking about my grandmother who was gifted 94 birthdays… some people WISH they had that long to live. They WISH their loved ones had that long to live or lived that long. I wish my dad had lived until 94 years old! These birthdays are not promised. Each year is not promised. Each month, day, hour, minute, second…. they are not promised. We need to start celebrating each day of life by holding the ones we love, calling people more, sharing more, expressing how we feel about them.
I will miss you so much Grandma. I know you were laid to rest today right next to grandpa and I’m sure you both are either slow dancing together or swinging on a porch swing in heaven today. You both are so greatly missed.