Two grandmothers, a deep love, and my tears
by Herman Forstmann
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I am 36 years old now, and within the last seven months, I have lost both of my grandmothers. Nanny was my father's mother. Memaw was my mother's mother. Nanny was diagnosed with rectal cancer in September of 2010. She passed away on December 11, 2010. Memaw's death was sudden and unexpected, even at age 89.
Both of them lived long, full, if not happy, lives. Nanny had a very unhappy existence from 1989 until her death. It began with the death of my father, her only child. From then on, she suffered enormously, as her brothers and sisters; all younger than she; began to slip away, one at a time. My grandfather died after my father did, also. The births of my sister's two children brought her a little back to life, and she found new reason to live. Then, cancer had to take away my grandmother.
Memaw was a truly happy woman. She experienced a rough life, but she learned to appreciate the value of the good times BECAUSE of the bad times...a trait I HOPE she has passed to me. Even as Alzheimer's took away her life, she remembered one thing above all others; that she belonged to Jesus. She was God's child, first and foremost, all her life. The last words she spoke to her nurse, when asked where she was going (while wandering the halls in her wheelchair) were, "To see Jesus!" Early the next morning, she was sent to the hospital in an ambulance. The nursing home notified me, and I got to spend a few more hours in the presence of the lighthouse of my life, my beautiful, sweet grandmother. Almost exactly 24 hours after being sent to the hospital, Memaw simply stopped breathing in her sleep. She looked very peaceful, maybe even happy, as she was in life.
It is hard, because I have had them both all my life. We lived in the same town as all my grandparents, growing up, so we knew them QUITE well. It is hard to figure out a new way to keep going, but I know both my grandmothers are Angels on my shoulders, telling me they love me and watching over me. Yes, I'm sad, but I know I will see them again.
Nanny and Memaw, thank you for sharing your lives with me! I love you so so much!