Sometimes, death sucker punches you in the throat- when you least expect it.
Sometimes, it comes slow, like hot lava burning through you until there is nothing left.
And when you’re lucky- sometimes, death comes with Champagne and the golden strings of heaven.
My grandma became very sick around Thanksgiving and was rushed to the hospital. She has not come home. She won’t be coming home to a house of brick and mortar. She will have a homecoming though, I imagine a beautiful one at that.
In her last days my family has been lucky enough to spend some moments with her which I know none of us will soon forget. And all I can keep thinking is one thought; “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
You see my grams made it clear- she is not afraid. She is ready.
She calls this part of her life ‘The Great Crash’ just like any good woman with a sense of humor would. She has spent her last days drinking Champagne one spoonful at a time, like any good woman with class and zest for life would.
And there is something perfectly sweet about all of this. Something that reminds me- while I am very sad that I will be missing someone who taught me so much, and was such a force in my family- death has not won this.
I have learned the fundamentals of shopping from her- and I do it well, because of her.
She has taught me how to be completely yourself in such a way that is both gentle and strong.
She has tact unlike anyone I have seen. Oliver Wilde once said; “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way they look forward to the trip.” She had that….when she wanted to. Other times, she’d just tell ya right where to go- and give you the shortcut.
I don’t know how she has lived this long, and until yesterday I didn’t understand why she was holding on. She is being held together by golden strings of heaven- that’s the only way I could explain how she’s made it this far. And if I’m perceiving all of this right- she’s holding on to prepare us. Making sure we’re taking in how to go out in style. Making sure we all get together and drink Champagne in her honor.
And so, in her dying moments I will not cry because I will never see her again, I will cry because for a short time I will miss her. And the first thing I will do when I see her again- is make a toast in her honor, for teaching us courage in the last moments, and how to go out like any good woman would- with a joke on her lips, and a glass of champagne in her hand- confident in what awaits her.