My Grandmother, god rest her soul, passed away this afternoon. She was a very wonderful woman, a strong matriarch of my father's family. She was not a perfect woman, but she was passionate about her family, about us and about life. She suffered from fairly progressive alzheimer's toward the end of her life and spent the last four years in a Nursing Home near where she lived in Connecticut. Her death was a peaceful one, and for that I am very grateful. She had no pain, my uncle was by her side and held her hand when she passed. In nursing school we are taught about death with dignity, and I believe that my Nonni's death was just that; a peaceful end to a wonderful life.
Dealing with death is never easy. I myself have only dealt with one other death in my lifetime and that particular person I wasn't really attached to. People say that loss can be easier if you are a little more "detached." If it doesn't effect your day to day life sometimes coping can be easier. In truth I really didn't know how to handle this news. It came so suddenly. I felt like I was blindsided. I had no knowledge that she was slowing down. Living so far away can sometimes come back to haunt you when dealing with extended family - because of the distance I rarely saw Nonni during college and she was too weak to come to my wedding. I haven't really seen her in almost 6 years. Reflecting on all this when my husband told me the news (he spoke to my mother first because I was at work when this was all happening) I felt sad that I wasn't able to hug her again, to talk to her one last time, to tell her that I loved her.
Even though I still feel a little confused and sad, I can think about Nonni and smile with joy and all of the happy memories we had together during my childhood. She was the woman who showed me how wonderful it is to cook, to create with food and share it with family. I remember watching her in the kitchen, she always made is seem so effortless! I really owe my love of cooking to her.
She was never a religious woman and she didn't want a funeral. There will be a small memorial service to celebrate her life in the comming weeks; my family hasn't pinned down a date yet. Kyle and I are scheduled to fly to Florida Tuesday to go to Disney with my in-laws. I originally didn't want to go, I wanted to hop on a plane and get home to be with my parents, especially my dad. It was my Dad who told me that I should go, that I should cultivate a realtionship with all of my family and that there are more ways than physical support to be there for people. I haven't made a concrete decision yet but at least I know that my parents, especially my Dad, love me no matter what.
R.I.P Nonni. You were a wonderful woman and a great grandma!