2016 has been a year of ups and downs. It’s been a plethora of celebrations and mournings. I started the year in a positive whirlwind; stepping out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to the limits. Then the week of February 14th, my family’s life would forever be altered.
Growing up it was just me, my younger sister, my Mom and Granny. We lived together. Celebrated together. Took care of each other. And sometimes struggled together.
My Granny went blind in her 30’s. Her mother and husband died within a month
of each other; around the same time her health started declining. As she got older, the list of health problems increased; sarcoidosis, multiple strokes, back problems and a host of other minor illnesses. But with all that…it NEVER kept her down. She traveled routinely. Always was front and center for any church sign up. Ran multiple food collection charities. Had multiple boo thangs. All while keeping all of us in check. She is and will always be the strongest woman I will ever know.
I don’t remember when it happened, but suddenly Granny’s mobility started to suffer. She began to become forgetful. She was unable to do things for herself. My mother couldn’t take care of her by herself; so began the endless cycle of crazy thieving nurses. When the care became too much for the Mom to bear, we had to put Granny in a nursing home.
Then the big words you never want to hear…DEMENTIA…ALZHEIMER’S. We sat back and watched this strong vocal woman first lose her mind…then lose her voice.
I remember last year during one of her lucid moments, she told me she was tired. She was tired of living this way. Tired of going from being in her right mind one minute to screaming uncontrollably the next. I remember telling her if she was ready she could go home. She told me she was worried about my Mom. “Who will take care of her?” I assured her I would. That was one of the last times I spoke to my Granny. The woman I spoke to after was just a shell.
Fast forward to the week of February 14th. Granny had her last stroke. She stopped eating (and Granny could eat y’all). She stopped drinking. She stopped talking and yelling. The night before she died, I sat with her and again told her it’s okay if she’s ready to go home. She can go. I promised we’ll be okay. I promised I’ll take care of Mom. I told her I loved her and thanked her for all she’s done for me.
The next day I got there told her I loved her, thanked her, kissed her forehead and rubbed her soft hands as she took her last breathe. I kept saying she’s gone as I made the phone calls to my close family. But I somehow in that instant found the strength to stop crying and start carrying for my Mom…like I promised.
February 18, 2016 is the day the earth lost an amazing woman, but heaven gained a warrior. This past weekend, April 9th and 10th (yes my Granny had two birth dates. Long story.), Granny would’ve been 80 years old. So this past weekend we celebrated the life of Evelyn “Cat” Cissell.
I live my life in honor of my Granny.
Love you Granny. Miss you. Yes, I’m going to church. Lol. And Mom is okay.