As you may or may not recall, in February we traveled to New Jersey to visit my grandmother.
The full story goes something like this. Last year my grandmother fell and broke her hip. While doing the pre-surgical screenings, they found spots on her lungs. It wasn't a terrible surprise to any of us, given that she had been a smoker since her early teens. However, she refused to acknowledge the meaning of those spots. No further tests were done, no treatment was ordered. She was in her late 80s, and it was her decision. The doctors weren't sure what her prognosis was, but the "6 month" phrase was bandied about. Thatmom didn't think she would make it to see Baby B's birth. No one expected her to make it to Christmas.
And yet, she did. We spoke behind her back, since she refused to acknowledge the gravity of the situation. The "C word" was never uttered. Which is not to say everything was sunshine and roses over there. There were multiple times when we expected a phone call, and times we even got one - like moments before Thatmom's birthday dinner.
3 weeks ago, we got the call. A few days later my mom headed to New Jersey to identify the body and attend the memorial there. Because none of the West Coast family attended, over the weekend Thatmom hosted her own memorial service.
We all gathered together at Thatmom's house to sit around and share our memories. The rabbi came and said some prayers. While we all harbor our own thoughts about my grandmother, it was a good reminder that family always comes together. That we are all connected. Even under unpleasant situations.