I had last Friday all planned out.
I was going to get up early and go to work for five hours. I was then going to head over to my parents’ house with my friend Fi. At 2pm, my parents were going to drive the four of us to the coast for the Moruya Jazz Festival, where Fi and I would be performing all weekend with the Strange Weather Gospel Choir.
The day started out as planned. I was at work by 8:30am, working on the submissions I’ve got due next week, trying to condense forty-eight pages into six for our Annual Report, and answering the phone as needed.
Then came a call I wasn’t expecting.
By 12:30pm, I was in the Emergency Department of the Canberra Hospital. My parents, my aunt, one of my cousins. Doctors, in the background.
And my Grandma Mickey, for whom a year ago (almost to the day) I made double chocolate muffins. My Grandma Mickey, who hadn’t been in hospital these past few months, but had been pottering along in her low-care nursing home.
For the next forty-five minutes I held my grandmother’s hand, and stole moments to kiss her forehead whenever I could, whenever someone wasn’t stroking her hair, whenever there was a break between one of us whispering words that we knew/hoped she’d hear. I held my cousin’s hand over the bed, I curled into my mother’s shoulder, I reached for my father.
And then I kissed my grandma one last time.
It was her birthday.
Happy 97th Birthday, dear Grandma Mickey. I hope that, somewhere, there was a cake with candles and a wonderfully creamy cappuccino waiting for you.
We love you, always.