Mar 6, 2010

For my Grandma

Potthoff, Bonnie J. Age 81, of Circle Pines, on March 2, 2010. Preceded in death by son, Thomas; grandson, Scott. Survived by husband, Kenneth; children, Michael (Cathryn), Peggy Jean Morgen (Mike Shands), Robert (Patty) McArdle; many grandchildren and great grandchildren; sisters, Nancy (Bud) Davis, Mary Taylor; countless other family and friends.

With all said and done, I will always be so proud of you. You have made me the person I am today. I will miss you my love. Until we meet again. Love, Peggy Jean.


This was the obituary and one of many comments left on online version of our major newspaper. The comment is from my mother, but could easily be from me, since it is very true for myself too. I have since left my own.

For me it started on February 17. I was in a meeting at work when I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. Thinking it was just my wife calling on her break or something I didn't think much of it. Turns out it was a text from her telling me to call my mom A.S.A.P. Not sure why she called my wife to get me, she has my number. I called my mom and she tells me that Grandma is in the hospital. That right there isn't anything too alarming, she's 81 years old and isn't a stranger to the place. But then she told me that the doctors are giving her a week or two to live. I was o.k. with that, I thought. About ten minutes after I hung up it hit me. I'm going to be losing my grandmother soon. I thought I could keep it together but I just broke down right there at work. I was able to find a quite place to hang out and let the tears run wild.

After that I was able to keep it together. I keep in daily contact with my mom, getting updates on Grandma, and Grandpa too. It was just a few days later that it was decided that he needed to be placed in a nursing home. Not long after that Grandma was moved into hospice care.

On February 27th or 28th my mom told me that it won't be long and asked if I wanted to be called when the hospice people knew she only had a very short time left. I said no, just let me know when she has passed in the morning. Well, nobody got that call, she went too fast. 

She passed away on Tuesday, March 2nd at 8:25a. I got the email at work from my brother. I took it better than I though. Mostly because I was ready for it. I still choked up a bit, but was able to continue on with my work day. I took the rest of the week off so I could ready myself for the memorial service and funeral.

Her funeral was yesterday, March 5th. It was a nice service. Her son Mike (my uncle) did most of the talking. Well him, and the pastor. I learned things about Grandma that I never knew. I did my best to keep the tears away because I knew if I let one slip, I wouldn't be able to stop. So when the sadness crept in I started to sing songs in my head. But when I saw the casket being rolled away, and my brother leave with the other pallbearers is when I knew it was really over. I had a wet face from that time until I made it outside. I was happy to see a full church. I was in the front row so I hadn't realized just how many people had come. 

I'm still not sure how much Grandpa knows. He kind of slips in and out. As my mom said; "He may know that Grandma passed away today,but not tomorrow." I still can't get a good read on my mother. She spent most of the day helping with Grandpa. I spoke to her last night and she told me it really hasn't sunk in yet. This must be so hard for her. I can't imagine what I'm going to be like when she goes. But it's o.k. We made a deal that she's never going to die so I'm safe from that.

I have had my chance to cry. The left eye for happiness, the right eye for sorrow. I'm glad that she's no longer in pain. She has been battling various illnesses ever since I can remember, but she never let that stop her from doing anything she put her mind too. I will greatly miss the great times I shared with her. From camping and canoeing with her, my mom and brother to all the Christmas's we had. I will remember all the cookies she pulled from behind my ear (cute magic trick she knew) and the wonderful goodies she would prepare for the holidays.

Saying goodbye is so fucking hard, but I don't regret not visiting her in her last days. I needed a healthy last image to remember, not sick, hospital Grandma. I spent a little time with her this last Christmas. She was in pants! I think I've only seen that once before as she lived most of her time in a dress. I wish I could have stayed longer but I had a wife stricken with H1N1 I wanted to tend too. Because really, you never think your last visit will be your last visit.

I'm still deeply sad, but I'm looking forward to getting back to work. I need normalcy to kick in. My wife H has been great. I know she's sad too, but she's doing a great job trying to keep my spirits up. 

1 comment:

  1. Craig,
    How on earth did I raise such a wonderful son? Oh yes, with the help and guidance from Grandma. I can see so much of Grandma in you and Dan, as you both have her tenderness. I raised you two as I was raised. You two gave me so much fun, I wish I could do it all over again. If you need a chuckle, just think of Robot Grandma with your very first Nintendo. Ever think of getting a St Bernard and naming it Bonnie? Love you bunches, Mom


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