So far April has not been a good month. It started with dry sockets, a pain that was miserable and still lingers just a wee bit. Getting wisdom teeth out at 36 isn't fun. The recovery was hard.

On April 5th we were supposed to celebrate my grandma's 93rd birthday in Coolidge. I was one week out from the extraction and I was crossing my fingers that the pain would be manageable by then. The girls all wanted to go to see cousins, and Will needed to stay home and get some things done around the house.

The Tuesday (I think) before the party, my mom texted me to tell me that she was taking Grandma to the ER because she was having trouble breathing. My heart sank but I was hopeful that she'd soon be on the mend and wouldn't miss her party. There was no good news, the drs thought it was her heart, or pnemonia, or both, or just her body was giving out. They gave her blood and hoped for the best.

Thursday my mom texted me to let me know my brother was on his way to the ER with an infection in his arm. His wife was forcing him to go and I'm so glad she did.

Friday the girls and I drove to Coolidge to stay at my parents' house. They were remodeling the kitchen and the house was torn apart. But there is always room for us there. Friday they moved my grandma to Hospice so that she could have visitors all day on her birthday. At the hospital she couldn't have her great-grandkids visit and that was miserable for her. She loves her family so much that thinking of not getting to see them was hard and since there was no way they would let her leave to go to her party, she needed to see everyone.

Saturday morning we headed to her house just around the corner from my parents'. My Aunt Lynda was there working and not sitting still for a moment, my cousin Carter was there and I hadn't seen him in years so that was a great surprise. He and I was very close during high school, because we are the same age and had very similar interests. I wouldn't have enjoyed high school as much without him by my side.

People came and went all day long, heading to Casa Grande to spend time by Grandma's side, then coming back to eat food and talk with relatives. Grandma had rented a little train for the great-grands and they loved it. I wish she could have seen the happiness on their faces as the conductor drove them around the neighborhood. Her eyes would have twinkled.

The day wore on and on. Finally people left and we ate more. Brie took her girls to see Grandma around 7, I was planning on seeing her in the morning then leaving for home from CG. Rhayn had gone back to my mom's house a few hours earlier to play with one cousin, because there was just too much going on at Great-Grandma's house. The other girls and I went back to my mom's around 8:30 and went to bed.

In the morning, I took girls to Jesse's house. He was having surgery at 7am and Brie was staying there to watch his kids so Stacey could be with him. My parents went over early to help out. I took a quick trip to spend some time with Jodi, (my brother, Garrett's wife). Then went to Jesse's house to hang out a little while before heading to CG to see Grandma. 

We got to CG around 12:30 and relieved Aunt Lynda, Uncle Danny and his kids, who were there so they could go eat, and the girls and I spent some time with Grandma. It was so hard seeing her like that. She looked so tiny in the bed, and her breathing wasn't easy. I held her hand for a while and gave her hugs. But I had all of the girls with me. Abby slept in the carrier on my back for a little while, but when she woke up she wanted to crawl around and I wouldn't let her. Natalie was scared of Great-grandma, she stayed back and I sent Rhayn, Gwen and Natalie for a walk. We stayed for an hour and a half. In the beginning Grandma joked a little about how God didn't want her and the devil won't take her. One of her oldest jokes. She talked about how much she missed Grandpa, who had died nearly 30 years ago. Someone had brought his picture and it was on the nightstand next to her. She told me how handsome he was and my eyes filled with tears that I wouldn't let fall. I could not start crying. Even though I was sure this would be the last time I would get to talk to my grandma. I told her how much I loved her. I wish I would have said more, told her how much she means to me, what an inspiration she's been in my life. How many people she's touched. I wished my girls hadn't been there so I could have just sat with her for the rest of the day.

After an hour and a half, Natalie was starting to act up. She's three and it was hard for her to be good for that long, plus she was tired and needed a nap. I went to find the girls and we filed back into Grandma's room. We gave her more hugs and kisses and she smiled at the camera when I sat the girls next to her for a final picture. I'm kicking myself because I didn't hand the camera to one of the girls and get a picture of ME with her. I'd thought of it earlier but I forgot until we left. We all told her we loved her, and with that final sentiment, we walked out of the room.

Its been a week now, and my heart breaks again every day. She's still hanging on, but she isn't Grandma anymore. Thanks to Facebook my mom and Aunt Suzy keep all of us who are far away informed about everything that happens to her. On Sunday the family had a fast and prayer for her, not that she get better, we all know that isn't the best thing for her. But to give her peace and allow her to join my Grandpa and her sister Deloris in heaven.

I've been weepy every day, trying to go about my normal business, keeping myself busy, busy, busy, because there is nothing I can do and I'm not sure what I should do or how I should feel. I find myself checking Facebook and reading stories my cousins post about her, and their favorite memories. I hear in my head her voice counting, and skipping that one number (I think it was twelve), counting with grandkids, making us giggle. "I never say twelve, 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, THIRTEEN!" she'd say. I hear her voice, telling me about all of the things my cousins were up to.

Just now, again checking Facebook, I read updates from my mom like this one:
"Tuesday morning. While Suzy told her that 4/14/14 would be a good day to die, grandma held on to life. Slowly slipping deeper and deeper into that eternal rest. This morning they were not able to get a pulse even though they tried both wrists and one ankle. She is sleeping so peacefully as if any moment she is going to sit up and start talking. She had one short episode last night around midnight where she keep calling for help. She has done that several times over the past few days. Each episode is a little shorter and a lot less intense. Suzy sat constant watch (with her eyes shut) with her last night as Danny and Kim went to a hotel to finally get a shower and rest. Craig and I left so we could finish our income taxes because the only thing certain in this world is death and taxes."

I've spent this morning, tears streaming down my face, finally allowing myself to really mourn and cry. And still I hear her voice in my head "THIRTEEN!"

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