My grandmother, Roma Widhalm, died on the night of Election Day at the age of 91, almost two months before her 92nd birthday.
To give me the news, my dad called me Wednesday morning, but I was still in bed after working a late night covering local election issues for my hometown newspaper. I let his message go to voicemail.
Ten minutes later, I called him back and when he told me, I was surprised I didn’t cry.
My father and his three siblings have been expecting Grandma to leave us – her health had been rapidly deteriorating. She had rheumatoid arthritis, plus a few other health problems.
I wanted to visit her this summer when I was an hour’s drive from her nursing home, but I got caught up in other stuff and didn’t. I am sad and ashamed. I now carry the guilt of forgetting to schedule in the visit.
There is some comfort in knowing Grandma is where she wants to be – with her Lord. She’s wanted to join Him for a few years because her health problems make her life difficult.
I called my mother an hour later and gave her the news, and that’s when I started to cry. I was walking to work and came in and told my boss and got teary-eyed. I went to my desk and started working, trying to calm my heart.
Grandma lived a full life – she grew up on a farm, had a difficult marriage with an alcoholic, divorced when it wasn’t common and worked at a bank, earning her way in life, plus she raised four children and loved her dozens of grandchildren.
To me, she is like a rose:
She had to deal with the thorns of pain.
She could feel the silk of petals in the many hugs she got from her grandchildren.
The stem of her tall, elegant body, though curved in her later years, kept her beautiful.
And the entire rose of her being colored our view of her as the best kind of grandma that has a bounty of love.
I love and miss you, Grandma.