Edna Erdean Harness (Fuller Woodside) 1944 (age 20)
Aka Gr’ma Dean
We laid my Grandmother to rest in Long Beach California, with her husbands, Vern Fuller and Charles Woodside, last week. Friends and family gathered and we shared sweet memories. I loved hearing them! In a nutshell, she managed to make everyone feel so loved and special to her.
Then last night, we had a little dinner at home to remember her and I told the kids some little stories of my own. I set a pretty table, using the dishes that once belonged to my Great Grandmother, that Gr’ma Dean requested I have. To be honest, they were not to my taste, until last night. I am so glad we used them! They set a lovely table and I feel lucky to have them and I will treasure them.
She and my Great Grandmother were excellent keepers of our family history, so we have information and even some photos, that go back to the early 1800’s. I set out an album so that the kids could see photos of Gr’ma Dean’s childhood and life as a young woman.
Next to the kids dinner plates, I set out a little something for each of them from Gr’ma Dean. They can never know her in the way that I did of course, but I wanted them to know some of the stories and why she meant so much to me. I hope there is at least a little of her in me, because she was a special lady. My grief is deep with this loss, which, maybe oddly, has surprised me. She was 91, so my head knows that she had a good, long life, but my heart is broken.
I am so sad.
On December 2, my sister and I met up in Long Beach, California to have a visit with my sweet, 91 year old Gr’ma. When we got there, we were disappointed by her condition and situation. Without going into the whole thing, we ended up extending our stay and making arrangements for a change. December 21, Rick and I flew Gr’ma back to the island with us. We have one nursing home here and it turned out to be such a nice fit for my Gr’ma. The setting and the staff here were so different than the setting and staff she was dealing with in CA. Her nurses here were so kind and gentle with her, and the place itself has a homey feeling to it, rather than clinical. Best of all, I was able to visit and hang out with her every day.
She flourished here. Well, maybe that is overstating it, but lets just say, her worst day here was better than her best day in her previous situation. I think it will never be clear to me what was happening there, but here she found peace and comfort and although I regret not making the change sooner, I am so glad that her last month was sweet and peaceful and pleasant.
Her condition changed suddenly on Sunday and I spent the whole day with her on Monday, January 18, finally leaving after 10pm. A thoughtful nurse called me at 1am to say that her stats were dropping and I might want to return. Rick drove me back over and he and a nurse moved a comfy recliner in next to her bed so that I could be with her through the night. I held her hand and loved on her the rest of the night. At about 6:30 in the morning, I realized that she no longer seemed to be with me, but I could not really tell for sure. The room was still very dim and all was so quiet and peaceful. I did not want to leave her in case she was still passing, so I just sat with her and continued holding her hand, until Rick came in the room at about 6:45 and I asked him to request a nurse to come in. The nurse that came is a dear friend of mine, and she confirmed that Gr’ma was no longer with us.
That is how peaceful her passing was. I did not even know for sure that she was gone. My heart was (is) so broken, but I am very thankful for the way it happened. She had no pain, just passed peacefully in a quiet, peaceful place, with a granddaughter who adored her holding her hand.
The past couple of months have been challenging, but I am so glad for all the time that I got with my sweetie pie little gr’ma and I am honored to have been with her when she passed.
My Gr’ma always made me feel loved and cared for and like a priority to her.
When I was very young, she would come visit us. I remember her visiting us in Michigan when we lived on a lake, and we would go the the lake beach and sit on the dock and swim and eat cheese that you squirt from a can and she would buy other special junk food groceries when she visited, like sugary cereal in tiny boxes so you could have a different one each day. These were huge treats for us!
She also spoiled us rotten with fun boxes of gifts for Birthdays and Christmas’. In 43 years, I don’t think she missed, or was even late, sending Birthday cheer. As a matter of fact, when we moved her here, she requested her family photos from her walls (which I used to decorate her room at the nursing home), her address books and birthday organizer and her jewelry to be moved with her. I loved her list of requests because they were so “her”. When I looked at her Birthday organizer book so that I could help her get her cards out, I thought it looked like a pretty full time job, keeping up with that! ðŸ˜‰
As I got older (preteen and teen years), we would go visit her and some of my best childhood memories occurred with her. At that time, there were four of us grandkids, close in age, and she would fly us in for summers and we would whoop it up! Disney Land and Magic Mountain and Knotts Berry Farm and the beach and museums and movies and shopping and on and on. It was a big slumber party that lasted for weeks, with so many special times. It was not just all the fun entertainment and treats, but the care that she showed us all made me (us) feel so loved. Even things like laundry! We would wake up to clean, folded clothes as if she was some sort of magician. She would pack up simple but lovely picnics for beach days and she and Gr’pa always made sure we had “pocket money”. Once I was a little older, I even went on a date or two and would come home to a sweet gnite note on my pillow. I don’t know how she (and my Gr’pa) did all of that, but I know I am so lucky that they did.
I am so glad she was mine and I will miss her forever. xo
(thanks to my sister for the top photo and my mom for the bottom photo!)