She passed away on August 21st, in a nursing home in Houston. Just before Hurricane Harvey hit. The standing plan upon her death was that she would be buried in Austin, next to her husband. Unfortunately, Harvey came ashore before they could get her (or anyone else) to Austin, so she lay in a funeral home until the waters receded.
I will not be able to attend the funeral, due to a long-standing appointment with my pain management doctor at the hospital where he did my back injection procedure several weeks ago. It’s also my pain medicine check appointment. I can’t miss it, nor can I reschedule it—his next available appointment is in October.
I have sent flowers and made a donation to the Houston Shrine Hospital in her name. Another good online friend has also sent flowers—totally unexpected and incredibly appreciated. Anyway, physically, that is all I (and others who can’t attend) can do.
In spirit, though, there is a great deal more I will be doing today. I will be remembering all of the times I had with my grandmother, from when I was a small child until I was too sick to travel to see her.
I will remember how she taught me to cook, starting with pancakes. Their kitchen had a bar, on which she’d set an electric griddle. She used a store-bought mix, but that taught me to read and follow directions. We went on from there to eggs, bacon, all of the basic breakfast fare (sans biscuits—too messy). When I was old enough to leave alone during the day (when I’d come up to see my grandparents during summer vacation), she’d turn me loose with a Betty Crocker cookbook. I zeroed in on cakes, which we loved, despite my waistline’s second thoughts.
I will remember how she encouraged the artistic side of me, when almost everyone else in the family wanted me to be a football or baseball player. We’d do crafts. Needlepoint. Painting. I had to drop them at some point of my childhood, but the painting helped me out when I started building model rockets.
I will remember how scared I got when she went into the hospital for a hysterectomy due to a tumor. I will remember the anxiety I felt when tumors were explained to me, including the difference between benign and malignant, and how relieved I was when hers was benign.
There are so many other things I will remember, from the time you became too sick to travel to the time I became too sick to travel. I will remember how we both grieved when we lost your husband, and how you looked at the plot where you would one day be buried next to him when your time came.
That time has finally come.
I wish you an easy rest next to your husband, and I apologize and offer my regrets for not being able to be there today.