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April 23rd, 2014

wistful lois

Sad news

Tuesday morning I lost my grandma. She was the last living grandparent I had left, and I knew whenever she would pass away I would take it the hardest. She was a fantastic person, a good mother and an amazing grandma. On Easter I was thinking of her, how she would hide Easter baskets full of trinkets and goodies at her house and give my sister and I each a typed clue that we each had to solve to find another clue and follow a series of them that finally led us to our Easter baskets. On Easter my husband and I got so busy with out two children we forgot to call our families in Chicago (mine) and California (his). Monday night she had a major heart attack while watching the Blackhawks NHL playoff game with my aunts and uncle at her home. (That's right my 88 year old grandma was watching hockey, that's the spunky kind of lady she was!)

At the hospital the doctors seemed optimistic at first, but later into the early hours of the morning found her to be too medically unstable with too low of blood pressure to survive a surgery to perform a cardiac cath to remove the blockage. What's worse is they highly suspected there was a tear in the artery that had become occluded. (For those who don't know, the actual muscle tissue of the heart has all sorts of little arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the walls/ muscle tissue of the heart and these guys are often the ones that become blocked and when the blood flow and oxygen is blocked to the heart muscle tissue, that is when a heart attack generally occurs, and the torn artery was the one supplying blood to the heart muscle itself, and also causing blood to leak into the pericardium, which is a membranous sac that surrounds and encases the actual heart itself) so it was a very very bad situation the doctors couldn't fix.

They said all that could be done was to make her comfortable and if her blood pressure dropped any further it would be a matter of hours before she would pass away.

All of this happened in the middle of the night into the wee hours Tuesday morning. My sister called me with the bad news of grandmas critical condition after she left the hospital after midnight. However we have the ringer turned off on our phone in our bedroom because our three year old often wanders in there in the middle of the night and crawls into bed with us. I also left my cell phone in another room so I didn't find all this out until I woke up the next morning. But I live in Atlanta, they are all in Chicago and I have a 3 year old and 4 month old, what can I do?

I spoke with my dad later that morning after my sister and I spoke, he said he was at the hospital, she was doing better, good blood pressure, good vital signs, she was having conversations, smiling, telling the nurses all about me, my sister and my two children (her great grandchildren). Then without warning really, when her children were in the room with her, she suddenly and quickly passed away.

I was devastated. I never even got to say goodbye. I feel just horrible I didn't call on Easter, that I didn't speak to her on the phone when my dad was talking to me in the hospital, and that I couldn't be there. I was the only one who wasn't there and I feel just awful. I also feel terrible and guilty that my husband and I didn't take a trip up to Chicago earlier this month as we had potentially talked about, but never did. I wanted to take the trip up there to have my family meet my son, particularly my grandmother, and it's too late. All my grandparents passed away while I have lived here in Atlanta and it has been so hard being the one person so far away.

I am just so sad and devastated by her loss. She was sharp to the very last minute of her life, and my aunt said her last wish for all of us is to be happy in our lives. My grandma was fantastic. This is a woman who was a mother to four children, a daughter of a Polish and Russian immigrant, was a teacher, a secretary, typed EVERYtHING, never used a clothes dried because lime dried clothes smelled better, could drive stick shift, and kept in touch with us on skype. She insisted we get Skype for her to see her great grand children! She bought and sold stock, and always thought of others before herself.

I miss her so much. It happened so fast and unexpected. She was completely independent, full of life and had no known illnesses when it happened. It completely blindsided me. I just can't believe she is gone.