nonnie passed away on march 9, 2009. it was a monday morning. steph had spent the night with her and left the room at 9:30am. At 10:00am she returned to find that nonnie had finally left us. two days before i drove down highway 5 with the two kids and my mother-in-law in tow. we plugged along in hopes that I would get to see nonnie while she was still coherent. i dropped Karen off at sarah's and headed on to mom's. I took a little nap and mom woke me up because my sisters had called. "They really think you should be down there," she said. so i packed the kids back up and headed down.
when i arrived nonnie was sleeping. it took a while, but i finally got the nerve to go back to her room. for some reason i felt really nervous and intimidated. my sisters thought i should see her as she was before she woke up. that was good advice. i went into her room and stopped short upon seeing her. yes, she was 94, but she never looked 94 to me. she just looked like nonnie. nonnie, who said every day, "i have to put my face on!" i can remember her saying that years and years ago! and when i went back there that saturday she just looked so old. her hair was tied back (she had told stephanie she wanted a ponytail like hers) and her jaw was slack, her mouth hanging open. she looked so tiny and frail under her sheet with her yellow and white striped blouse on backwards. she was still wearing her watch. her nails still looked perfect. her skin was still really soft!
i stayed back there with her for a little while (thank you to my sisters who took over my parenting duties so i could be with nonnie for a bit) and started out with normal day-to-day conversation, trying to provide answers to questions i thought she might ask me. i talked about the kids and the drive and the cat, she always asked about the cat. she always said, "say hello to fiona." and she always put fiona's name in quotes in a letter:
i hope "fiona" is doing well.
i loved that.
anyway, after that i realized this might be the only chance i had to tell her what i really wanted to tell her. i won't bore you with the details, i'll leave that part of the conversation between nonnie and myself, but i'm so grateful i had the chance to tell her everything on my mind. i really loved her so much. still do. i miss her a lot. i think about her so much.
anyway, later that night nonnie woke up in pain so my sisters and i ran back there. steph was a champion, acting as her nurse. she provided all the care, down to the nitty gritty. cat was so good with words, telling nonnie all the things any person would want to tell her, but may not be able to put into words. i just held on to her warm right hand and didn't say much at all. for a couple of hours, on and off, nonnie said everything I think she felt she needed to say to get her "pass" into heaven. by the end of that discourse, she was ready to go. she kept asking us to let her go, to turn everything off (she was on oxygen). finally she fell asleep and we all went to bed. i guess she woke up the next morning briefly and talked with steph, but she never woke up again after that. monday morning she passed.
i feel like there's so much to say but a lot of it feels a little too private to just blab about on the web, so i'll leave it at this: nonnie was such a good person. she had an amazing heart and spirit and generations of us were so lucky to have her in our lives. i miss her every single day, have already dreamt of her twice, and just hope and pray she's at peace now. she was so ready to go, so i'm sure she's happy as a lark now. i miss her and will miss her voice and her calls. it's hard to realize those are gone for good. but she's where she wants to be now. and that makes me happy.
i love you, nonnie.