A little over a week ago, I lost my dear Grandmother, Denelda Foley.
She died on January 22nd, just six days short of her and my grandfather, Ted Foley’s, 61st wedding anniversary.
The weekend prior to her death, she had been in the hospital for about a week with failing kidneys, among other things, and we started to realize she getting worse and likely wouldn’t be coming out the hospital.
It was January 16th, when I really lost it. That’s when Mom told me she didn’t think Grandma would be coming out of the Hospital. I completely broke down. I started to accept that she would be leaving us, so when I heard the news on an early 7:30AM Saturday morning phone call from mom, I was surprised. Or sad. Honestly, I was relieved.
I knew she was hurting and I was glad she wouldn’t be in pain anymore. And more importantly, Grandpa would get to rest. Though I would never wish it upon someone to lose a loved one, it was certainly taking a toll on my Grandpa. He was tired and worn. And though I know he is lonely and misses Grandma now, he knows she’s in a better place now.
I called Grandpa on the 23rd. Grandma, like most Foley’s, was quite stubborn, so there wasn’t a funeral or a wake. She was cremated and there will be a small graveside gathering the in the spring. But that didn’t stop the Foley’s from getting together to celebrate her life on earth, and to comfort Grandpa.
Grandpa said there was about 100 people there that day, and many on the following days as well. I didn’t actually get to talk to him on the 23rd. Dad picked up, and then passed me to Mom, my cousin Paula, my cousin Tanya, my brother Dylan... but I never actually made it to Grandpa. He was busy mingling, and, just being busy in general, which is good for him.
Among the chaos and crowdedness of 100 Foleys in a tiny building, everyone said Grandma’s chair was empty the entire time. People would rather stand than sit in her spot. They probably fear that Grandma would tell them to get out of her chair, even from the grave. Bradley attempted the chair a few times, I’m told, and eventually sat on the edge of the chair, very uneasy. He knew it wasn’t right. It was Grandma’s chair. It was her space. No one else was supposed to be there except for Grandma.
When I finally did get talking with Grandpa, he talked very quickly. He told me then entire process of her sickness and death, and the arrangements that had been made, and then passed the phone off to Dad again. I think that explaining it all to me was his way of understanding it all for himself. And for accepting that it was really happening. And did happen.
I’ve talked to Grandpa a lot of the phone since then. A lot more than I used to call. In the beginning, there were lots of people around and he was busy, but now he’s usually just watching TV when I call. He’s lonely, he admits, being home all by himself, but he sounds good now. I called him last Friday, on what would have been his and Grandmas anniversary, but Dad and Aunt Dale had taken him out visiting and to the casino: exactly what Grandma would have liked to do.
It’s sure going to take some getting used to. Just the other day, Dylan text me asking for “Grandma’s” number. I text him back saying “Grandpa’s number is...” He messaged back saying “whoa, that’s going to take some getting to used to.” And he’s right.
It will take some getting used to. For all of us.
Rest in Paradise, Grandma.
I love you.
Here's a picture of Grandma and Grandpa Foley, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, last year.