Grandma Jackie passed away this morning. For 16 years various doctors have been telling her that her time was nearly up, but she just kept trucking along, traveling the world, being active in her church community, and just generally loving everyone who came within reach. When she had an accident last month and was hospitalized for a week, though, even she started admitting it was probably the beginning of the end. But she was ready, and was happy with her life, and it gave the family all time to get together and prepare. On Monday I was up visiting her and got a chance to record her talking about her life, and about Grandpa Marsh, and her brother Bob, and the places she had traveled, and other memories. Dad said it was one of the last few real conversations anyone got to have with her, since she spent the last few days heavily medicated and just generally fading out. So I feel very blessed to have gotten to do that. She died this morning with Aunt Pat, and I think it was all pretty easy and peaceful.
As I've thought about all this, both today and in anticipation over the last few weeks, I've realized that Grandma Jackie was not only a good role model for living, but also a good role model for dying. That sounds odd to say, but I think it's an important thing that isn't thought about often enough. She lived her life (and more of it than anyone had expected) doing everything she thought was important and meaningful, and she was happy with it, and at peace, and ready for the transition. She made sure to get visits from everyone she could towards the end, and she had her children with her in shifts constantly for the last few weeks. Uncle Jim and Lacey also both made it down from Oregon just the other day, and I was up again last night with Lacey, Aprill & Lamar, Dad and all three of his siblings, so it was a really good gathering. We all got to spend some time with each other and with Jackie, and to talk to her. She wasn't really able to respond much, but I think it was really good for her to have so much family love around her during the final stages. I couldn't have asked for things to have gone much better than that.
I'm heading up to Rossmoor tonight to be with family, and I'll probably be up there most of the weekend.