Saying Goodbye to Grandma


At my wedding Grandma wished me as long and happy a marriage as she had with Grandpa. And she said we were off to a good start because there was just as much love at our wedding as there had been at theirs.

“This one,” I said to my sister Shannon as we stood in front of the largest bouquet in the store. She nodded.

I didn’t know the price of the bouquet that I didn’t think I’d even be able to lift and things have been financially tight, but it didn’t matter. We’d make it work. Nothing else would do.


The siblings and I stood glancing past balloons for birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries. The Get well soon! balloons with their bold primary colors made me physically flinch. Deep breath. 

We settled on two metallic-y I love yous. And then asked the clerk to show us every single solid colored balloon that even semi-matched them.

“What’s the special occasion?” asked the clerk as she finished tying the last strings on our balloons as our giant flower bouquet sat in the cart practically towering over us.

“They’re for our grandma,” I said, trying not to sound as somber as I was feeling. “She’s been sick.”

“That’s so sweet,” she said. And then added with an encouraging smile, “I’m sure she’ll love them.”


The five of us—three great-grandkids and two significant others for moral support—sat snuggly together, squished onto Grandma’s twin-sized bed.

Grandma sat in her brown-leather recliner in some sort of state between waking and sleeping. She was completely unaware that her great-grandchildren were sitting just a few feet away, passing a tissue box between them.

It felt for a moment as if we might be able to reach her through the fog. “Grandma, it’s your grandkids!” we said together. We called like we were trying to find her in a very large house and we weren’t sure what floor she was on. “Grandma, it’s your grandkids! We’re here! Can you hear us?” She smiled and nodded.

And then we burst into tears as the fog encompassed her again.


We held a mini service of sorts. Shannon, Riley, and I taking turns reading the cards we’d written for her. I wanted her to be able to hear me, so I tried to make my voice as strong as if I were reciting a sonnet on stage, sending my voice to the back of the room. But then I got to the last line and I could barely choke out the words—“I miss you already.”

We told stories standing around her in a circle. We told her about some of our favorite memories with her. We told her about how much we’ve always loved her strength and sharp, witty sense of humor (which was often, to our great amusement, inappropriate). We told her how lucky we felt to have her as our great-grandma. And we told her how much we loved her.

I couldn’t tell if she was able to hear any of our memories or cards, but I felt some comfort in the fact that at least we were able to say it when there was still the chance she might hear.


I’ve already said goodbye, but I’m still waiting for the final word. I’m still waiting for the finality. Grief feels like it’s on pause. And I’m unsure what tense to even use. But I miss her already.

13 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to Grandma

  1. I think it’s a great blessing that you had a grandma and she loved you and you had time to love her back. The love it’s always there. You just cope better as time passes. Just lost my aunt and it feels sometimes like I am just going through the motions of my daily life but my heart. —it’s with her somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt. Going through the motions of daily life but your heart being somewhere with her is such a good way of describing grief.

      I’ve been starting at the screen for a few minutes now, wanting to say something comforting and empathetic but also not wanting to sound remotely trite or to stick my foot in my mouth. I think the fact that I’m dealing with the loss of my grandma makes me more afraid of saying the wrong thing by mistake because I know how badly the grief hurts all by itself (without anyone saying something dumb).

      I’m so sorry you’ve lost your aunt. It sounds like she was very dear to you. ((HUGS))

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is a sweet blessing to have a grandmother you adore – I know… I too had one who meant the world to me. So hard to say good bye! No one can fill that space in your heart. This post is a lovely way to remember her.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know she heard you all. As painful as this time is, what a wonderful gift to be able to say goodbye. Because of distance, I didn’t get to say goodbye to either of my parents. Although, I wrote my father a letter, releasing him so he could actually let go. My heart is with you during this most difficult time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This reminded me very much of what it was like to say goodbye to my sister – who did not know I was there due to early alzheimer’s (or maybe she did know, but could not express her knowledge). In this case, I can say with some certainty, that I know how you felt, or very close to it. Loss is terrible for those of us left behind, but sometimes saying goodbye in only one direction is even harder. Prayers for peace, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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