Saturday, June 15, 2013

From the History Books (Lap Blanket)

When I was in 8th or 9th grade, my grandmother was always saying how cold her legs were. She spent a lot of time in a wheelchair, and couldn't seem to be comfortable a lot of the time.

One Christmas I decided I would make her a lap blanket. Mrs L (from a previous blog entry) was sweet enough to teach me how to double crochet. building on the single crochet my grandmother had taught me.

I don't think she had this blanket very long when she passed away. When my aunt asked me if there was anything I wanted at the time, this immediately came to mind.

I was told that she had in the hospital with her when she died. My grandmother and I had a special relationship. I have wondered as an adult if we could have been sisters at another time. She confided much in me. She treated me very much like an adult. In some ways, I would guess given the circumstances she had to.

The last time I saw her, I went to the hospital with my aunt. I remember my aunt going into the bathroom and crying. I didn't understand what was going on at the time. Apparently my aunt knew something I didn't. I had been away at boarding school and my grandmother kept asking, "When's Liz coming home?"

My aunt knew with a fair amount of certainty that once my grandmother saw me, she would probably not be long for the world. The next day we were supposed to go back and see her again, but I got a call that we couldn't go. I found out the next day that my grandmother had died.

I wish I had known at the time that that would be the last time I was going to see her. I know sometimes people do the things they think are best when they are doing them. But it didn't really give me a chance to say my good byes. One day she was there, and the next she was gone. By the time anyone was told, my grandmother had already been cremated.

In some ways, I think my grandmother did me a favor with how she did things. I have never had to see someone who has died, and quite frankly prefer it. When my aunt passed away, she had a closed casket. Her thinking was that she wanted people to remember her alive.

Long before my death seemed as close as it has been in the last year, I said I wanted to have a closed casket, if anything. But I would really rather just a memorial service. I know I don't want to be buried somewhere. My mom says there needs to be a "final resting place." She said it quite strongly when I was in NY. It might have been her way of telling me that I needed to have one. I never really discussed what I want with her. I don't know who will be dealing with things when my time comes, but I hope they will do what I ask. My grandmother had my aunt handle things the way she did because she feared her wishes would not be respected by others.

I guess it is the last thing you get to decide before you go, but in the end, you have no more control over that than you do pretty much anything else that involves other people.

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