18 years ago this morning Jason and I were visiting my grandparents in Maryland for a Memorial Day vacation. We were woken up at 5am by my grandfather and after that, my life was forever changed. The events of that day have had the largest impact on my life than anything I’ve ever been through (aside from becoming a mother!).
As I walked into my grandparents bedroom to see what was the matter, my grandma was sitting at the edge of the bed saying that she was having trouble breathing. I turned around to get to the phone to call 911 and felt her slide to the floor with a deafening loud thud. I knew deep down that she was gone, but I fought against it like mad. We called 911 and the EMS came and ended up taking her to the hospital, however she passed away in the ambulance on the way there.
When we got to the hospital and talked to the doctor, I just remember thinking that I was too young to be the one to handle all of this. I was only 22 at the time. All of our family lived far away and I had no idea what to do. I called my family right away and they had to make arrangements to get there. Meanwhile, we had to take care of my grandfather who was not in the best health.
I just remember that day being the longest day of my life, waiting for my family to arrive. It’s funny because I can remember minute by minute every detail of that entire day and for years I have relived it over and over. Thinking what I could’ve done differently, did I do enough to try and help her? The doctors said she’d had a stroke and was gone instantly so there was nothing I could’ve done, but as humans we always torture ourselves about these things you know?
So I kept praying and asking the Lord, why me? Why did God choose me to be the one to be with her when this happened. It could’ve been any of my family members. Then I thought what if it had happened when they were alone, then my grandfather wouldn’t have known what to do. He was unable to communicate because of strokes he’d had years before and I honestly don’t think he would’ve even been able to call 911.
It has taken me a lot of years to come to this point, but I am now grateful that God chose me to be with her in those last moments. I hadn’t always had a very close relationship with either of them and this experience gave me a connection with both of them that I had always longed for. Growing up, they were not very patient with children and we always knew they just didn’t know how to handle kids. Then we moved away when I was 18, so I never got to spend much time with them. Having this happen while I was there was no coincidence. I believe it was God’s plan in taking care of my grandparents as well as myself.
As I have thought about this over the years, I realize that I was right beside my grandma while angels were ushering her spirit up to heaven. Just thinking about that gives me chills. I can’t think about that day without crying, even now 18 years later. I can still see it all happening over and over, but I have chosen to live for the good that God intended out of this. She was ready to meet her Maker and He was ready for her to come home. I am honored that God chose me to be a part of something so sacred between her and the Lord. I will always miss her and wish that I could see her here on earth, but I know that we will be reunited in heaven one day and I can only imagine what that day will be like.
That day also made me realize how short our time is with our loved ones and I think I began to cherish time that I had with my family maybe more than other people who have never been through something like that.
Every year when May 31st comes around, I am reminded of that day and I choose to honor my Grandma and try my best to cherish the memories I have with her and especially in those last moments. It just humbles me to think that out of my entire family, I was the last person she saw before she closed her eyes for the last time and opened them to see Jesus. Her spirit lives on forever and even though I never felt that close to her growing up, I now feel her spirit with me always. I thank the Lord for allowing me to go through this trial. He has grown me so much through it and I don’t know that I would be the person I am today had I not.
So when you go through trials, remember that God is working it all together for your good and to allow Him to do the work in you so that you can come out stronger. Also, please remember to cherish every single moment you have with your loved ones.
God Bless You,