When we arrived at my grandma’s house Sunday morning, I realized I forgot my sweater at the hotel. I’m always cold in air-conditioning. “Go get a sweater from my room," Gram said. Just like old times, I wore a hug from Gram all day.
After a while, she said she was tired. She got herself comfy on the couch. With her favorite daytime television shows providing easy-listening background noise, she nodded off. We ran out to do some errands.
When we got home a few hours later, Gram was still asleep. I checked on her a few times as we unpacked bags, making sure her chest was rising and falling.
When I came into the living room to check again, she started to open her eyes. “Gram?” She winced a bit and reached out her hand. I sat next to her on the couch, holding her hand in mine and talking to her. Her eyes were open, but she wasn’t looking at me. She was looking past me, through me.
Gram mumbled something. I think it was in Italian; I wish I knew what she said. She squeezed my hand. I knew what was happening. Her labored breathing and unfocused eyes seemed to make it evident.
I called my mom, and she gathered the family.
With all of us---her children and grandchildren---surrounding her, Gram was smothered in love. We held her, prayed over her, and thanked her. She mumbled again.
And exhaled one last time.
I held Gram tightly and told her I love her. Amid my sobs, all I could think was, “I wonder what Grandpa said to her. And I wonder what she was saying to him…”