My Grandmother, My Angel

by Noel Herradura
(Savannah, GA)

Mama and me

Mama and me

Mama and me
Mama and me... 30 years later

I had the best grandmother anyone could ever hope for. We were practically joined at the hip since I was born. When mom was at work, Mama (she never liked to be called grandma) was there to sing me hymns until I slept. She was my confidante, my most trusted adviser, and my best friend. Oh, and she also kept me well fed (as you can see in the picture, haha).

She had a stroke in early 2010 and it robbed her of her speech and motor skills. Everyone except I believed that she wasn't going to make it past January, but she showed them otherwise! She stabilized quickly and I made a vow to her that I would take care of her just like she took care of me. If she had to go, I wanted her to be comfortable at home and with her loved ones at her side.

It was difficult at first, but thanks to my mother and aunt (who were nurses, by the way) I was able to adjust and get the hang of things. I could tell right away that her health was improving drastically. She was bed-ridden, but she started moving her arm and leg on one side and even regained some speech! Soon she was able to read the headlines of the newspaper and even sing some of the old hymns she sang to me as a baby. Mama was a fighter!

...and then the second stroke happened on October 17th, 2012. It was a normal afternoon. I fed Mama and cleaned her up so she could have a comfortable nap. But then she started shivering and had a slight fever so I called the on-call hospice nurse. Some tears were falling down her cheek, so I knew she was afraid. I held her hand, kissed her, and told her everything would be okay. I told her that I was there for her, like I promised. Then she fell asleep.

It wasn't until later that I realized that that was the last time she was conscious. According to the nurse, she was in a deep coma. When I found out, I burst into tears. If I had only known that was the last time, I would have thanked her one last time for everything she did for me. Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow. Thanks for helping make me the man I am today.

Mama was breathing on her own, but I knew time was almost up. She lasted another week before passing. She was surrounded by all her children and grandchildren. You were a fighter till the end, Mama.

It has been nearly a month since then and I am just a wreck. The full gamut of emotions stir in my mind constantly. Sorrow for losing the most important person of my life. Anger about how well she was recovering before the stroke took her. And finally, relief that she is no longer suffering and is now watching over me.

I am a broken man now, but I will press on to honor her memory. It was a great blessing and privilege to have had her in my life. My Grandmother, my Angel.

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