I changed my mind at 10:00am on Wednesday morning and decided to say goodbye to my (Megan's) Grandma Vander Kooi in person. She is 89 years old and has been in the nursing home for 2 1/2 years with many health problems. Last weekend she was admitted to the hospital and suffered mini strokes that triggered bleeding in the brain. Since she would never survive any kind of brain surgery, and definitely didn't want that anyway, the family decided just to let her go peacefully on her own. I was able to briefly say, "I love you" to her over the phone on Saturday night when she was still verbally responsive, even though someone had to tell me what she was saying. I was not planning to make the trip to Hull until the funeral was scheduled. However, my grandma rallied somewhat on Wednesday and I changed my mind. Austin was in Kansas City for work. I dropped off the dog, packed up the kids and drove the 4 hours straight to the hospital in Sioux Center. I'm so glad I did. I was able to hold my grandma's hand and feel her squeeze in acknowledgement that she heard me and knew who I was. The kids held her hand, too. I felt completely at peace since I was truly able to say a final goodbye. Plus I know it meant a lot to my grandpa for me to be there.
Besides my own goodbyes, there are two pictures that made the whole trip worth it and will be etched in my memory forever. One is of my mom gently stroking and tracing the lines of her mom's worn and wrinkled hand. I can't even explain in words the emotions that beautiful picture stirs deep inside of me. The other picture was of my grandpa holding the hand of his bride of 65 years and quietly praying with/over her in the dimly lit hospital room just before we took him home for the night. The only words I heard drift to the doorway were, "...someday we'll see each other again."