I stood at your bedside. I held your hand. I saw the tears escape your eyes as your body ceased it's weeklong struggle to draw breath. I felt Gary's arm around my waist, but dimly. I heard Sarah sob, felt more than saw as she turned to bury her face in John's chest. You squeezed my hand, as if to let me know that it was alright.
You told me the week before your death that if it came to it, you didn't want long term life support. When you stopped breathing, I gave permission for them to intubate and breathe for you, to give you a chance to recover. Your blood pressure began to fall. I gave them my permission to administer drugs to try and elevate it, all in hopes that your lungs would heal.
When the blood pressure meds stopped working, I asked them to do a brainwave scan to see if you were still in there. Your brain was no longer working by that point. I told them to remove the tube.
I can still feel your hand in mine, these years later. I stood there, saying to you that I loved you, that I forgave you for everything. I begged you to just let go of your pain, you had suffered enough. And I pitied myself.
I was orphaned then, it seemed. My father didn't want me, he still doesn't. You were not a good mother, but you became a good friend when I was grown. You were the only parent I had, and you died, while I held your hand and cried.
My children miss you, Mama. They reminisce about you, 'Remember when Grammy did...' or "When Grammy said...', I am glad of that. You were the grandmother that they deserved and needed, despite your inabilities as a mother. I love you for that, still.
Megan's had a baby, do you know that? A beautiful boy, named Tristan. I tell him stories of you, and how his Mommy has all of your best traits. She loves flowers and smellygood bath stuff. She is so beautiful, Mama, your first grandbaby, and as I hold her son to my heart, I wish that you could smell his hair.
I miss you terribly on holidays and especially the kid's birthdays, but nothing compares to the agony I feel as I await the birth of yet another grandson that you will never see. He's Danny's boy, his mother's name is Dakota and she's beautiful. I wish she could have known you, too.
I picture you on a riverbank, in a stupid folding chair with an aluminum frame. I see you with a pepsi in one hand, and a fishing pole in the other. Grandma and Grandpa sit beside you, in their chairs, with their poles and sodas. The sun shines on you all, beautifully.
You finally quit smoking, after you died. Wish you had done it sooner.