On August 25, 2012 I sat down at 4:30pm to write to my grandmother. I have always been a writer in some capacity and I promised her I would continue. At 4:35pm she died. That morning I lit a candle in my yoga session for her and it seemed to burn longer than usual. Often I have an intention (thought or prayer) when I step onto my mat and that day it was Louise. My beautiful daughter even comforted me that morning telling me not to cry that day since I had been crying often as we awaited the inevitable.
The call came and even though I had four kids in the house (two of mine and two of their friends) I told them I was going to say my last goodbye. I practically ran over a bike left out in the driveway (that's a entirely new story about my 11-year-old that cannot ride yet) not being used to the backup camera in my new SUV. All I could think of was the time my other grandmother passed away and my father got caught speeding on his way to see her. He had a police escort when the officer learned of the situation. I, on the other hand, made it the whole mile that it was safely.
The life that left her frail body was left grey and cold. The arduous journey (a week with no food or water) had ended and the blush of color had disappeared forever. When we learned of her small stroke I was already on a family vacation and my heart sank. I had taken the kids to visit her just a few days prior since we were taking my son to a fine arts camp that my grandmother first helped with the year before. As I look back on that visit I remember how much my children did not have in common with her at the end. She spoke of the music theaters in the parks as we spoke of current day music concerts and the children were bored silly. They were polite as usual and our visit was brief, but it was the most awkward visit we ever had. Perhaps it was a sign of things to come.
I always enjoyed my alone time with her as we played cards (mostly cribbage) and had tea. Her favorite: Constant Comet. I would share my writing and update her on the all of the kids and she would tell me about the ladies in her community. She always remembered the details of my very new second marriage. We will always share the bond of having the same anniversary.
As we returned from our vacation she was still hanging on. I feared I would not see her again alive, but I'm not sure if what I came home to was the memory I wanted my children to have.

Before we arrived home my step-son and his fiancee had visited her in the hospital. It brought tears to my eyes. They barely new her, but it meant so much to my entire family. Within the hour of our arrival home we were all at her bedside. She had been a huge part of our family! She really wasn't coherent so I stayed behind and I let the family return home. I played my son's concert recording from camp for her and I prayed that she could hear the music. She was so interested in it and proud of all the kids and what they did. I suppose not unlike any other grandparent.
I returned again for another visit, but came late one night at 11pm. I just didn't want her to be alone, but from what I am learning, sometimes people just want to be alone at that time. I didn't want to lose my granny, though. My heart was breaking. She was sleeping, but then the Hospice nurses came in to turn her and they blasted the light. I felt so bad that they stirred her when she was so peaceful. When they left with the light on her eyes lock on mine for what seemed like eternity when it was more like ten seconds. I felt her gaze pierce through my soul. And then she was gone. Back to her unconscious land of unrest, but still lingering in our world. So, I read to her and we prayed. I described the teddy bears she loved so much that were surrounding her. I'm sure they all had special meanings, but only she held those answers.
I'm not sure how closure comes, but then again I'm not sure I want it to. My grandmother inspired me with her wit, tenacity, faith and intellect. My children were 13 and just shy of 11 when she passed and I know they will always remember her. As I compare her life span with that of my grandfather, her husband, they both lived 96 years. Just six apart. They lived through the depression and countless technological advances including the TV, computer, microwave and push button phones. I even saved her first email to me dated February 1, 2012: "dear mari i'll look forward to you too, perhaps we can play cribbage. xo" She was an eloquent writer of notes, but her arthritis limited her use of the computer mouse.
I think in some instances there is no need for closure if love was the basis of the relationship. I will not dwell on my loss, but revel and smile at warm thoughts she brings me. Like when I wear her shoes or sweater or when I open up her peacock jewelry box each day or when I see many of the artifacts she left behind becoming a part of my home. The best thing is the parking spots she brings me! Yes, parking spots! She always said just "image" the spot before you get there and now I get one every time! My daughter does it, too!
Thank you grandma for everything! For having my mother, for teaching me many a game, for praying for me each and every day, for your inspiration to stay healthy physically and mentally and so much more! I look forward to the day that we can play cribbage once again. I love you! Now I just need someone else to find my writing as interesting as you did!

Author's Bio: 

LaDuke resides in Novi, MI with her family including her husband and four beautiful children (two college and two middle school). LaDuke is a consultant in the beauty and wellness industry, private yoga instructor, doTERRA IPC, Jewel Kade stylist and volunteer.