“I was blessed to have shared almost 23 years with the best grandmother in the world. Throughout my life, she’d been a second mother, dear friend, and confidante. I love you Nanny.”

My wonderful grandmother passed peacefully early Labor Day morning.  As difficult as it was for me (and everyone who loved her) to watch her waste away, in the end I’m glad I was there.  I met some incredible people through Hospice, shared many laughs and tears with family, and gained a new appreciation for how far I live from my uncle.

The hospice nurse woke us around 6:30.  As I stumbled through the hallway, the red light of the sunrise reminded me of so many other mornings I forced myself to wake up before Mommy to share a cup of forbidden coffee with Nanny…but the hum of the oxygen machine brought me back to reality.

She was physically there in the hospital bed, but her suddenly wide-open eyes and breathing pattern were strangely animal.   We told her my uncle and his wife were on their way, and that we (my mother, grandfather, and me) were there.  In her last moments, we held her hands and told her we all loved her.  In the process of removing the oxygen machine, the nurse messed up my Nanny’s hair.  She waited until I had fixed it to pass.

A few days later I was sitting on the back porch watching a thunderstorm…something I used to do with Nanny.  As the sky cleared, two rainbows hung in the sky.  They were there, they were strong, and then quite suddenly they were gone.

She was there, she was strong, she is not gone.