Friday, October 13, 2017

Rest In Peace, Grandma

It was a really shitty week. My grandma passed away. Her health has been declining for most this year and we knew it was coming, but it didn't make it any easier. I was basically a wreck. She and I were very close, and had been my entire life. There was no one like her. The hardest part is that she was beyond excited to meet her first great grand baby early next year, and I know she tried so hard to hold on.

For the most part, I was really good at staying strong as I watched her go through hell this year in effort to keep a low-stress environment for the baby's sake. But early this week when my mom called to say it was happening and that she was passing, I lost it. I'm lucky that our new house is only 1 1/2 miles from where she was being cared for. I literally dropped everything, my headphones went flying, and John and I jumped into the car to rush to her. She was gone by the time I got there. I had been with her the night before (and every day before that) so I had ample opportunity to talk to her, say goodbye, give her kisses, let her know how much I love her and just be there... even when she wasn't able to respond anymore.

My mom and John did their best to calm me down, and I was trying my hardest to stay relaxed as well because I didn't want my baby suffering from this, but it wasn't easy. Her death hit me harder than I ever expected, and I'm sure my hormonal state didn't help. The only thing that made it better was knowing that she wasn't suffering anymore.

For most this week, I've been breaking down in tears multiple times a day and just having a tough time. I've been exhausted. Today was the first day I felt a little better. I even got out for a little run/workout this morning and was smiling (not to mention, laughing at myself for choosing to wear a shirt that is way too small for 25 weeks pregnant).

The day she passed, words came flooding out of me. Often, writing is the best way for me to let it out, remember the good times, deal with the heartache, and find some peace...

At the finish line with grandma in 2012 after 50 miles of mountain bike racing. She went out of her way to support my racing and career. She ALWAYS called me before/after all my races, or in some cases showed up.

Rest In Peace my darling Grandma Arleo. 
I hope you knew how much you meant to me. I know you wanted to be here for the birth of your first great grand baby, but don’t feel bad. You’re at peace now after a tough several months. And don’t worry, our baby will know all about you.

You made the biggest impact in my life and taught me so much. When I was a little girl, you made life magical. We’d make up stories, play the piano, take the dogs on adventurous long walks through the lush greenbelt, and so much more. If my mom had to go shopping you’d come along to save me from boredom, bringing colored pens and paper, and we’d sit there and draw houses, flowers and animals. When my parents would go out of town, you were the only human I wanted to stay with and you always made sleepovers so special - each morning you’d surprise me with a different kid’s placemat to make meals more fun, you’d have stashes of those cookies I loved, and your bed was full of the cuddliest pillows and stuffed animals. 

Summer days at your pool were my favorite growing up, from before I could swim to all the way through high school when I could drive over there myself. The sound of airplanes leaving John Wayne Airport still remind me of those days in Corona Del Mar. 

When I got into triathlon you made sure to call me before and/or after every single race I did, and if I didn’t catch your call you’d leave the most epically cute messages with your signature phrases, which I’d save on my phone forever. A few times you were able to show up to the finish line (like pictured above). You also called me a million times to tell me how proud you were, and you’d want my advice on nutrition and fitness. You cared so much, and I loved that.

You endured heartbreak in your life, but that didn’t stop you from being an incredibly loving and caring mom and grandma to everyone - even extended family and friends. Your love was contagious, and your hugs unforgettable. You were so happy for me when I found true love with John, and even though you didn’t drink beer you loved his. 

In your final weeks we wanted nothing more than to be by your side and give you the same comfort and love that you gave to us for a lifetime. 

You were a fighter, and refused to go easily. Even in years past you kicked cancer to the curb twice. This year it wasn’t cancer, but it was a lot to fight. You beat the odds and hung in for months. You looked so peaceful when it was finally your time.

It’s so weird to have to say goodbye to you while being pregnant with new life. I wish it were different circumstances. I’m having to dig deep to stay strong (doing my best for baby). But at least we know we have a special angel taking care of us now. 

I’ll love you forever, Grandma. 

She adored her granddaughters, we adored her, and she was so excited to become a great grandma in January. Her memory will live on in my baby girl; we have something special planned.

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