in memoriam

Michelle's grandmother (her father's mother) died unexpectedly and suddenly last night. We'd eaten brunch with her earlier in the afternoon. She seemed herself, happy to be surrounded by family. She was in good spirits when we left around 3. Then on our way out of town, we stopped by B's where we got the call that we needed to go to the hospital because Grandma Ralston had had a massive stroke. We later found out the stroke was caused by a brain aneurysm. We arrived a little after 8 and within 20 minutes, M's grandmother had stopped breathing.

We are sad and still in shock. Grandma Ralston was one of the kindest people I've ever known. She had a way of making you feel comfortable and at home. Because I am so far from my family, I spent a lot of time and holidays with her and never felt like an outsider. She treated me like family and often introduced me as her grandchild. I only spent four years as part of her life, but I heard so many stories and shared so many happy times, it feels like longer. I can only imagine the loss her true family is feeling. Anyone who knew G'ma Ralston shares in our grief that she will no longer be a physical presence in our lives. We will always, always be grateful that she cared so deeply and tried to take care of all of us. She did not suffer and I suppose knowing that eases our minds. But our hearts, well, that's another story.

The Last Night She Lived
~Emily Dickinson

The last night that she lived,
It was a common night,
Except the dying; this to us
Made nature different.

We noticed smallest things, --
Things overlooked before,
By this great light upon our minds
Italicized, as 't were.

That others could exist
While she must finish quite,
A jealousy for her arose
So nearly infinite.

We waited while she passed;
It was a narrow time,
Too jostled were our souls to speak,
At length the notice came.

She mentioned, and forgot;
Then lightly as a reed
Bent to the water, shivered scarce,
Consented, and was dead.

And we, we placed the hair,
And drew the head erect;
And then an awful leisure was,
Our faith to regulate.