It’s been a while since I last posted an update. It’s partially laziness, partially forgetfulness, and partially because there’s been a ton happening.
Most significantly, Jennie’s mom died. This was something we were aware could happen at any time due to her numerous, chronic medical conditions. It was a daunting list, and despite semi-regular visits to the ICU, she was able to circumnavigate the crises and emerge.
In this case, she had most recently gone through a round of cancer treatments, and even thought she might start decreasing her pain meds. I visited her earlier that week and she seemed more lucid than she had just a week prior. Jennie visited later that week and got the same impression. She seemed better to both of us.
The reality of the situation is that she probably was not better. During my visit, she made a point of thanking me for all I had done, and letting me know that she appreciated all that Jennie had done for her as well. In the grand scheme of things, I didn’t do all that much. Jennie did sacrifice a bit, and we did augment our lives a little to fit her in when she needed us.
That said, she really lived by her own terms. We had very little actual impact on her decision-making, which makes her thanks pretty important in retrospect. It’s possible that she was aware of what was coming, and how soon, and she was doing some final accounting. She had lots and lots of friends who had weathered many storms with her, but I don’t know how much she was able to (or felt compelled to) thank them. She did let us know, unreservedly, that she appreciated us.
When my grandma was near her own end, her way of controlling the circumstance was to write out exactly how she wanted her memorial service and the subsequent dinner to go. She had the meals planned based on the time of year. I think Jackie didn’t want to risk leaving without saying thanks, and this was her method of preparation.
So, now we’re tasked with unwinding 70 years of avante garde living by a capable, kind, wacky, and utterly unique person. It’s a bit daunting, but we’ll muddle through with the help of a cavalcade of her lawyer friends (one of them let us know that the bankruptcy court in Rockford was shaken by the news) and our own inside woman at the bank.
I suspect as we get farther and farther from that very sad day and start to get accounts closed and items dispersed, that it’ll be less and less sad. I’m hoping we can start to focus on the fun stuff. The genuine, hearty laughs we had on so many Sundays at dinner. The way Eli would lose his mind when her car would roll into our old driveway. The way she could get Jennie to understand something without saying a word.
She definitely lived life on her own terms and it’s hard to imagine her not here. The loss will be apparent for the foreseeable future, but I cannot believe she’d want us to be sad. Especially Jennie.