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…wind beneath my wings

March 6, 2010

“As I put my pen to paper I was instantly struck with the difficulty I was having in referring to my Grandmother, Ruth, in the past tense. Her strong presence is still so vibrant, so alive. My Grandmother was a passionate woman. She was passionate about everything. She worked passionately, disciplined passionately and loved passionately. She was a simple woman with grand tastes and grand desires. She died with the family she loved so dearly, by her side.”

These are the words I wrote and read at my grandmother’s funeral. It’s been EIGHT years and it is still hard to think of her in the past tense. The disease that took her life was a type of lung cancer. This disease effected my life deeply. I lost my best friend. She had NEVER smoked a day in her life.  My grandmother fought this disease for 7 years… 7 of the hardest years of her life. The last 2 months of her life she spent in the hospital and nursing home. I spent those 2 months with her… almost every moment. I gave up my job, my personal life… she was all that mattered. I saw this disease take the most beautiful woman in the world and turn her into a pile of bones.

“When I conjure up a vision of my Grandmother, I see a beautiful woman… a lady. Even just a few months ago, although visibly more frail, she was still a very lovely, gracious, and beautiful woman. As she proudly showed off her silver collector spoon my husband and I brought her back as a souvenir from our honeymoon in Charleston, SC. Her intense will to live, was astoundingly evident. She showed me all of her prized possessions. She walked me down her hallway and pointed to the pictures on the wall. As she pointed to my grandfather, my dad, my uncle, my mom, my aunt, myself ,  my sisters and my cousins she stated, “These are my best gifts of all.” As I awed all the marvels of her endeavors, I couldn’t help being struck by the sheer will of this woman… my Grandmother.”

There is one moment that will not stop echoing in my mind. It was a week before her passing, she was going out of her mind. She was tearing the clothes off of her body and I was trying to stop her. She looked me dead in the eye and said “Please help me, Shana, please.” I have never felt so helpless in my life. I did things for my grandmother that I never thought I could do for anyone. I gave her a bath, I fed her, I helped her to the rest room, cleaned her mouth, combed what she had left of her hair, cleaned her opened sores, cleaned up her vomit. I loved her and never thought twice about doing any of those task because I knew she would have done the same for me.

I witnessed her last breath… and to this day it still haunts me.

“I’m reminded of her sense of humor. An inner hilarity not always appreciated by those around her. As I’ve grown and matured, it was my Grandmother’s humor that
I most enjoyed about her. She always teased me about staying out of trouble. She would state, “I know it is hard but try.” So, in her dying day I teased her the same. I told her to try to behave and stay out of trouble and she would reply with a beautiful smile on her face, “I know it is hard but I will try.”

Here I am, twenty-five, a breath ago a child myself, and I feel as if I barely knew her. All my memories are kaliedescoping in my minds eye. How I wish I had many more years with her to share so many more memories. But… the memories I have are joyful and full of glee.”

PLEASE HELP FIGHT CANCER BY MAKING A DONATION TO CANCERCARE.

“I think what I inherited most was her passion and that’s not so bad. Her passion for life, for music, for friendship, and for family.

I’m sad that her great grandchildren will never know her and will forevermore miss all this amazing and wonderful woman had to offer. I’ll miss her eyes, full of love and compassion, her youthful exuberance in playing the piano; I’ll miss her saunter, I’ll miss her appreciation of the finer things, I’ll miss her joy over a great bargain, I’ll miss her genius of things too numerous to count…of things wiser women and men study years and still never grasp. I’ll miss the warm, soft, tight grip of her hand intertwined in mine.”

I am a supporter of RELAY FOR LIFE. I have done a number of walks. There has to be a cure out there… Please help spread the word!!!

“Two years ago, my Grandmother asked me to sing at her memorial. I just agreed because I new she was not going anywhere. Now that day has come and I can’t bring myself to utter a single note. But, I will say the words that I would love to sing to her, Did you ever know that you are my hero? You are everything I would like to be. I can fly higher than an eagle, because you are the wind beneath my wings. Grandmother I love you so… you are now with the angels… teach them how to fly.”

and the music plays on….

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One comment

  1. This is a wonderful tribute Shayna
    Your heart is as big as your beauty–in and out
    I feel so blessed for knowing you and know that your grandmother could leave this earth knowing she had an incredible granddaughter, What a gift
    I had no idea you were blogging–and such beautiful posts



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