The last time I saw my grandmother was on a warm day in July, 2007. My daughter and I were spending the day together. As we went from the shoe store, to the pizza restaurant, and then to the movies, I remarked that I thought we should stop by the nursing facility to pay Grandma a visit.
"I don't want to go," Amy said. "I spent the whole afternoon there yesterday."
I could understand why an eighteen-year-old girl wouldn't want to be there. The residents were sick and fragile and my grandmother was hard of hearing. It was difficult to communicate with the ninety-four-year-old woman, and she often spent the time voicing her many complaints. Still, I had this nagging feeling that I should go see her and it wouldn't leave me alone. You might say that I had a monkey on my back.
"I'll tell you what," I told my daughter. "You stay in the car and I will run in for ten minutes."
She agreed and a few minutes later, I pulled my car into the driveway. Grandma seemed fine, at least as fine as one can be when she is almost a century old. Her eyesight was bad and so she asked me to pick out an matching outfit for her to wear the next day.
I picked out a sage green shirt with pink roses and matching slacks and carefully laid them on a chair next to her bed. Then I said, "I've got to go, Grandma," and left.
She must have worn the outfit on Monday and then Tuesday I got the call I'd been dreading. My mother informed me that Grandma had passed away in the night.
At first, I was struck with grief. The woman who had always been there for me was suddenly gone and nowhere to be found. But at least I'd had the chance to see her one last time. I was closer to her than anyone else in the family and it was very fitting that Spirit chose me for the final send-off.