Dude...what a last couple of weeks THAT was?!?! I really don't want to relive the last two weeks as I'm sure most of you know about it, but briefly, my G'ma got a surprising diagnosis of metastatic cancer and not surprisingly decided to forego treatment. Thankfully she did not have to deal with the illness for long as she passed on March 11th. I know she is in a better place and I am at total peace. I just have to get through those first few times when I want to call her and then realize that I can't.
What I really want to write about in this post is my girls. I am so very proud of them and all the changes and experiences they've gone through in the past couple weeks. I'll start with Ella as I was more worried and sad for her throughout these past weeks more than anything. Ella has had a very close relationship with G'ma from the moment she was born. G'ma was there for her birth and then spent three weeks with Stephen and I as we transitioned into our new lives as parents. I truly cannot imagine what I would've done without her, but that's another story. Anyway, Ella and her 'grammy' have shared numerous memories and moments that will always mean a lot to Ella and to me, so it broke my heart to have to tell her that 'grammy' was ill and was going to go to heaven soon. G'ma had a few conversations with Ella in the past about her going to heaven someday and what that meant and although at the time I didn't really want to hear my G'ma talking like that and also didn't want Ella to be scared or sad earlier than necessary, it ended up making this whole situation a lot easier! Ella obviously was sad, but faced the news with bravery and asked a few questions and our answers seemed to comfort her. As we went down to FL to help G'ma in her final days, Ella spent the first week with her cousins (and awesome Aunt and Uncle, who without them everything would've been 100 times more stressful and difficult) as I wasn't sure how hectic things would be or how sick G'ma was. It was clear when I got there that G'ma didn't have much time, so I definitely wanted Ella to have some final moments with her. We ended up staying another week and Ella was able to stay with me and she and 'grammy' had more special moments together that we will always treasure. Ella was so sweet and so understanding and didn't let the changes in G'ma scare her. The night G'ma passed Ella was spending some time with some friends from college and when we brought her back to G'ma's we sat her down and told her G'ma had gone to heaven. I could not imagine what it was a like for her to have seen her earlier that day and have had a conversation with her and then after leaving for a few hours 'grammy' being gone. Ella again was very sad and it broke my heart because she said, "Now I won't have a grandma anymore." I know she still had questions, but wasn't quite ready to ask them. She still has her sad moments from time to time and says she wants to "talk to grammy" or wants to "see grammy" and all I can say is, "Me too". She and I are grieving together, but I still am in awe of her innocence, bravery, love, faith and courage. I hope that she and I can keep G'ma's legacy alive and that I can raise her as well as G'ma raised me.
Now Annie of course is too young to know what's going on, but I am so glad that there are memories and pictures that I can share with her about her short time with G'ma. And I would also like to brag about how much of an angel she was on this 2 1/2 week journey. It all started on our plane ride down that she slept all the way through...even through horrible turbulence where I was sure we might be meeting Jesus before G'ma. Her sweetness continued through the trip as she gave G'ma tons of smiles and squeals of delight and would always reach for and hold one of G'ma's fingers...sweet, sweet memories I will always cherish. Also within those 2 1/2 weeks, Annie reached several milestones all before turning 5 months old the day before we left FL. The main event was that she cut not only one, but two teeth (the front two bottom). I was truly shocked that she had her first two teeth before 5 months of age. She was definitely more cranky than usual, but it could've been a lot worse. For her, who really only cries when she's hungry or overly tired, her crankiness from cutting two teeth really wasn't as bad as it could've been. We stocked up on Tylenol and Ambasol and she took a lot more naps! She is now a big fan of her Sophie giraffe to chew on. She is not a fan of the teethers that you put in the freezer. She is also now rolling over completely front to back and back to front and pretty much gets around by scooting on her back. She definitely doesn't sit still anymore. I can't leave her on the couch for a few seconds anymore. She also reaches for everything. At first it was just the dangling toys on her playmat, but now it's pretty much everything in sight. Cups, utensils, hair, jewelry, dogs, paper...nothing is safe! :) The girl is also growing like a weed. I know I say this every month, but I'm really curious what her 6 month check up stats will show. As for eating, we weren't really able to continue with solids while in FL, but as soon as we got back we started with avocados. They are so simple to prepare and so yummy for mommy to snack on, too! Anyway, I definitely think she liked it better than the rice cereal we tried her on (once) at 4 months. I was a little overzealous then with starting solids. She definitely wasn't ready, but I was curious. Now, I'm looking forward to making as many homemade foods for her as possible. We're going to stick with the avocados for a couple more days and then move to sweet potatoes. I can't wait! I'm also hoping my hubby will let me get one of those baby food makers. I know, I know...they're not necessary, but the self-steaming option and pureeing, etc. is so much easier in an all-in-one gizmo in my opinion.
I know there will most likely be at least one more post regarding me and my grieving of my G'ma, but for right now I am still thinking about what we all went through those 2 1/2 weeks and the memories that were made, milestones achieved and growing experiences for a 5 y.o. and the adults that were had. I'm proud of my family and proud of our faith. Our God was with us every step of the way and showed His mercy, grace, love and strength in every situation.
Before I end this post, I also have to give props to my awesome husband. He drove down from MI a week after I had already been in FL knowing that G'ma didn't have much time left and wanting to be there to support me and say goodbye to G'ma. But more amazingly than that, he took care of my G'ma in more than just a doctorly way. I don't really know how to explain it, but I truly could not see another man being comfortable in an uncomfortable situation and so selfless to take the night shift, have difficult conversations, help prepare end of life needs, make several phone calls and have to tell people off to get the job done that should've already been done, write the obituary and many other things all while being there for me and the girls and our needs. I'm still in awe of him and always will be.