My grandma died yesterday. She was 89 years old. In her long life, she married, raised four children, saw them married, buried one of them, watched them raise nine grandchildren between them, and just a couple of months before she died, met Little Darth, her twenty-fifth great-grandchild.
My Papa, the love of her life, died in 1990. At first, she didn’t know how she would live without him.
But she did. More than twenty years. She learned how to live on her own, keeping the little house they shared for so many decades. She moved out of the house into an apartment about 3 1/2 years ago. She lived on her own until late last summer, when she moved into a private nursing home.
Although Papa never made the moves with her physically, I’m fairly certain he was always there in spirit. One particular snapshot of him, in the summer, with his cap and sunglasses, was always visible. It was as though he was looking down from a window in Heaven, keeping watch over her and reminding her to keep living her life.
They were always so active together, traveling, spending time with family, fishing, and just enjoying each others company. Grandma would play the organ and Papa would whistle or sing. After he died, she continued to travel, played her organ, started walking with a friend, began taking ceramics classes and volunteering at the Senior Center.
I wasn’t with her when she died early yesterday morning. But in my heart I just know that Papa was looking down from that window in Heaven, smiling, saying “Come on Sylvia, the view is just beautiful”.
And as my family gathers this week, to celebrate her life, I’m pretty sure that window will widen just a bit, as Grandma joins Papa, and they watch and smile.