We had been slowly losing her for some time. It became progressively harder to have full conversations with her, though you could always be guaranteed a concert. Even at the worst of it, she could remember the words to Jesus Loves Me and Amazing Grace, and she'd clap and slowly sing to anyone that was in her eyesight. That speaks to the sort of woman she was, I suppose, that out of everything in the entire world, she could always remember the grace of God.
When I was with her on Sunday, she was, for the most part, sleeping, although somewhat restlessly. When she would open her eyes, though, she'd carry on conversations with someone that wasn't any of us in the room. She would reach out her hand to the corner of the ceiling and talk:
Is it time to go?
Can I come up and see you?
Are you taking me?
Where do I go?
Take me up in the air?
Honestly, it was like nothing I've ever experienced. It took us all by surprise until we got a grasp on what we thought was happening. I'd love to know what the entire conversation was like, but we were only getting her side of it. I almost think that calmed all of us a little, knowing that she had a friend waiting for her that she was talking to. She seemed to chat a lot when my cousin Justin was squatting next to her, and we thought it was because Justin bears such a strong resemblance to our grandfather when he was young. She'd reach for him in a different way than she would reach otherwise. And she'd continue talking, just as she had before.
It makes me so happy that I got to witness that. I've had a little struggle with God for some time now (I think that, in my job, it's not too uncommon), and I think I was placed in that room to see what was, undoubtedly, the presence of God. I'm still not sure exactly where I stand, but I know that it's real, and I know that it's more than what things like Heaven Is For Real has reduced it to (different post, different day).
She was the last grandparent I had. I have no living grandparents any longer. And that just seems so strange. It's still weird to me, this feeling of being a full-blown adult. To me, I don't seem old enough to be rightly considered a grandparent orphan. In my mind, I'm still "too young" for that. Truthfully (and put into perspective), I really am, but not the sort of young I still believe myself to be. I guess not having any grandparents isn't really that uncommon at thirty, but it doesn't make it suck any less.
Thank you, Memaw Shelma. For teaching me how to play Clue. For keeping a huge bronze tub full of old coloring books and nubby crayons (that, ten years later, still smells of wax). For playing whatever we wanted on the piano. For coming to birthdays and graduations. For letting the grandkids claim the dungeon. For not killing Dad when he climbed the water tower. For not being offended when baby Ty thought you and your short white hair looked like Orville Redenbacher. For always having donuts in the mornings. For taking us in when we got tired on road trips (and leaving sandwiches out on the counter for us). For teaching me how you're supposed to rock pink lipstick. For being an all-around amazing Memaw and friend.
We love you so much, and we miss you more than you could understand.