Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A life long lived.

(I wrote this just days after my Grandma's passing, I just never got to posting it because I still had things to add.)
 Lou-Ella Brege
May 3, 1927 - July 23, 2011

So I've taken a break from writing on here but here I am, back at it again.  Maybe not for long but for now at least.
This post today is going to be dedicated to my grandma, the late Lou-Ella J. Brege. 

On Thursday, July 21, 2011, I went and visited my grandma not knowing that it was going to be my last time.  I had just got home from work and figured I'd go see her, even though every time was just as hard because she had Alzheimer's and out of the four grand-kids, I was the one that was hard for her to remember who I was.  But I still wanted to see her.  When I went to see her, she looked so fragile and tiny.  It made me sad to look at her, especially because she was sleeping and it felt like she wasn't even there.  I stayed for a little then I went home.  I told my mom about how it's so sad how much weight she has lost and just how sad she looks.  I even talked to my boyfriend about it and also to my cousin.  They both asked the same thing, "How much longer do you think she has?"  And really, I didn't know.  I couldn't really tell but I would have never guessed the next night was going to be the end.  Friday came and I went on as the day was just an ordinary day.  Went to work, came back that night to go to Zumba and went home.  I was feeling quite tired that night so I hit the sheets by 11ish and was out.  All the sudden around 2:30ish in the morning, my mom came in and said something.  I was in such a deep sleep that all I could remember her saying was something with "Grandma," and "passing," in the same sentence but it didn't come clear to me that I felt I was still dreaming and just ended up falling back asleep as if I never heard anything.  Then my brother Michael came in not long after, "Brogan! Did mom not tell you?! Grandma Lou passed away.." I woke up immediately that time and was in such shock.  He walked out and I stood there for a few seconds trying to register what was just said.  It didn't feel real then the tears just fell.  I went downstairs and looked out the front window and as soon as I saw the cop car and ambulance at my grandma's house, I lost it.  I was shaking and crying so hard, I couldn't think.  A piece of me just felt gone.  I texted Rick immediately and told him and he came over as soon as he could.  I went outside and kept watching the house trying to register that this was real.  My dad walked over and I just cried in his arms.  He kept telling me, "She lived a long life, she was feisty til' the end."  I went back in the house for a moment and when I was coming back out, my brother Michael nudge me back into the garage and told me, "You don't want to see this." But I did, they were taking her out of the house and putting her into the van.  I felt I needed to see that.  I waited a few minutes and then walked over there.  As soon as I saw my mom, I cried even harder.  It just didn't feel real to me.  It still doesn't right now.  When I went back home, I sat on the camper foot steps and jut looked up at the sky and instantly saw a bright shining star and to me, it felt like that was a way of Grandma saying she made there.  Though that night was very hard for me, I'm glad to know she is in a better place and is with my grandpa for the rest of eternity now.  I was supposed to be opening at work at 8 that morning.  It being 3ish in the morning by then, I called Logan but she was out of town, Becca as well. Thank God for Paige, she was able to open for me and I told her I would come in and release her for the last 2 hours since she was going to be leaving to Traverse City for a bachlorette party in which I was supposed to be attending.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to go that early, especially seeing I couldn't completely fall asleep until about 6:30 a.m.  Calling my brother Richard was hard, I waited a little when I was calmed down as much as I could.  I could tell he was in shock but didn't know how to react.  He and Katy made it home early in the morning.  We didn't call Andy until the morning because we didn't want to wake Padraig at all.  But as soon as Rick got to my house, I cried in his arms instantly.  He brought movies for us to watch so I could try and get my mind off of it but it didn't help as much.  We were laying there watching 'Definitely, Maybe,' I couldn't stop thinking that my grandma is really gone.  I was trying to hold it in but it was obvious I couldn't and Rick turned me around and I just cried and cried in his arms.  It just hurt in my heart so much to think about it.  Finally I decided I should go to bed and got a couple light hours in.  I remember in the morning my mother came downstairs and asked if I would like to be a pall bearer fro my grandma and without a doubt, I said yes.  When I came to Curves around 10, one of our regulars, Sue, asked me how 'last night' went and she was referring to Zumba and instantly all I could think about was my grandma and the tears came right out.  It was hard for me to say it but I did and she just hugged me.  She understood and it was comforting.  When Paige saw me, it was the same way.  When Sue and Barb got ready to leave, they both gave me hugs and I did whatever I could to not let too much out.  I just wanted to go home.  When I got home that day, I held all my might to hold strong as much as I could.  We just tried to rejoice the memories of grandma through all the pictures we were looking through.  I went to church that night with my parents and there were a few times I thought I was going to cry but like always, I held in as much as I could. When church was over, I decided I needed to eat some real food so I planned to cook dinner that night.  When I got to the store I ran into Ellen, her husband and kids, and Janet.  As soon as Ellen hugged me, it took me a few minutes to catch myself and stop crying.  I kept running into people in the store and trying to keep my cool was very hard.
The next day was hard, I knew from the beginning it would be.  It was the visitation and all I could think about was that I was going to be seeing grandma and people were going to be coming and I needed to do my best to keep strong all day for her.  Before that, my mother and I completed a nice picture board with a bunch of pictures of my grandma and her life.  It was nice to look back at her life from a glance.  But the visitation was getting closer.  The beginning was hard, but the end was worse.  When we got to the visitation, it was about 3 o'clock.  I couldn't get myself to walk into the room for a little bit.  Finally I stepped in and slowly walked in.  I took one look at grandma and put my hand on hers and my mom came by me and I just cried.  My brother Andy came and put his arm around me and I was letting it all out in his arms.  I could barely look at anyone.  To make me laugh, my mother told me a little story about my grandma always being stubborn and that when Gwen was setting her up in her casket, she tried to turn her head so it could face us a little but my grandma just wouldn't budge.  And when she was setting her hand down, her arm kept going back up.  It all just fitted with her and her stubbornness and it did give me a chuckle.  I took a walk out of the room and took a step outside for a few to have a breather.  After that, it was easier.  People came and went.  Sad to say, but the less who hugged me, the better it was.  Those who hugged me, it made it hard for me to hold it in.  Even some who talked about her made it hard for me, even the good memories.  Its just all a part of it.  Some people when they talked of her, it was comforting.  I found myself eating A LOT there, it was a way of escaping.  One asked how I'm doing and I said as long as I eat, I can do it.  Kind of a funny way to deal with it but it did help.  As the hours passed, it got to the end.  No one was in the room so I took it as a time for me to be with her by myself.  I walked up to her and held her hand, gave her a kiss, and just looked at her.  She looked so beautiful and peaceful.  I told her I loved her and I'm glad she's in a better place and I hope she's having a great time with grandpa.  I walked out for a few minutes and when I came back in, Richard was there.  I went up next to him and we both talked about how beautiful she looked, about how feisty she was and she lived a great 84 years.  Holding each other, we both cried.  It just didn't seem real.  We turned and saw something very rare.  My dad crying.  If anything could break my heart even more, it was seeing that.  Immediately we walked to him and held him.  Seeing the hurt in my dad's eyes was unbearable.  But I know deep in his heart, he's happy to see she's not suffering anymore.  Though my dad is all good now, I know this is going to be hard for him for a long time.  Every Wednesday, he would go over there to watch her while my Uncle Owen went to work.  The following Wednesday, he was supposed to be there to watch her while Owen and Fortune go to a Beach Boys concert.  But after that, my dad, my brothers and I all went outside and we all had a group hug you could say but to hold on another.  We all calmed down after that.  It was getting ready for time to go home.  From most of the crying I have done, I sure was tired and was ready for bed.  The rest of Sunday night is a bit of a blur.
Then Monday came.  The real big day.  My mom came in and woke up me a little after 8 so I could get my shower in before everyone else.  It was hard thinking about the day.  My brothers and I were going to be the pall bearers.  It was a busy morning that's for sure between everyone getting ready and just thinking about the day.  I rode with my brother Andy to the church.  As soon as I got in there, there were people saying there good-byes to her and coming to us and giving us hugs whatnot.  I knew I wasn't going to be holding it in there.  Then it came to the hardest part, the final good-bye before closing the casket.  Right then and there, I knew this would be my last time ever to see her for the rest of my life.  We each went up to her and gave her kisses and any last words.  That was soo hard for all of us.  I couldn't even look at anyone but her.  Watching them close the casket just gave so many unexplainable feelings.  Then the family all walked in and took there spots and my brothers and I all grabbed a spot on the casket and slowly pulled her in.  As we took our seats, I couldn't take it.  I calmed down as much as I could.  They played 4 songs but for some reason only 3 of them are coming to my head: Amazing Grace, On Eagle's Wings, and the hardest one for me to hear, How Great Thou Art.  I let go during that song.  When I was in piano lessons, I played that song for one of my recitals.  Every time I would play that, my grandma would stand behind me and start to sing "Oh Danny Boy." Why she would sing that song, I'll never know but that song to this day will always remind me of that memory.  It's a great memory, it was just hardest to think about yesterday.  Reverend Hill said some very nice words about Grandma.  At the end, when Amazing Grace was being played, I started to cry especially because I knew it was very close to be over and our time was going to be done with her physical but had to remind myself my time with her in my heart will never be done.  We walked back to the front and each grabbed our side and pulled her out and I grabbed my mom's hand on my way out.  We had to carry my grandma's casket down the steps and into the hearse.  My cousin Autumn was right there and she gave me a hug hug as I cried on her shoulder.  I knew as soon as we get to the cemetery, it was going to be the hardest.  I didn't want to see her going down into the ground.  Father said a prayer and we all had our final look before she went down.  I wasn't ready for that.  I wasn't ready for her to go at all.  But it was her time, God determined that.  And she's with grandpa now after about 29 years.  After leaving the burial, we went back to the church for the luncheon.  Like I said, when anyone hugs me, I pour out those tears.  And of course, my aunt Nancy gave me a hug and there was no stopping me.  She knew it was hard to see me hurt like that because I'm like a daughter to her.  And then Bean came and gave me a hug and seeing her cry made me cry even more but like she said, I was making everyone cry!  Not intentional of course.  After a few minutes of cool down, I was better.  Reverend Hill said a prayer and we were all ready to eat.  Having talked to quite a few people, it was comforting to hear all these nice words about grandma.  My brothers knew it was hard on me and it was nice to know they were there if I needed them just like I am for them.  For the most part, it was a bright shining day for the funeral and I know it's because my grandma was up there smiling down on us hoping we were doing the same.  Even though I know she knows it was hard for us to, we did through the time in happy thoughts of her.  It rained for a little bit and in no time, there was a beautiful double rainbow over the town.  Shows how beautiful life up there really is.
My grandma was a great woman.  For anyone that knew her, she was the "sweets" lady.  Of all my younger days, when us neighborhood kids would be out in my backyard playing baseball in the summertime, she would come over with her Schwann's popsicles and hand them out for all the kids to have.  Or in the mornings of the school year while some of us would be waiting in my driveway for the bus, she would bring a basket over filled with candy bars and have each one of us grab one for the bus and an extra for the bus driver.  She always thought of everyone.  I used to spend the night there when my parents would be gone for the night.  My cousin Liz and I always would go over there and sit in the "sun-room" in the back of the house and she would give us each a roll of Life Savers (though I never got to eat mine because Liz would steal them lol).  We would even watch movies together.  She was my "movie store" because I could always go there and go in the cabinet and pick out a movie to borrow.  I'm very thankful for all many memories I have with her and wouldn't trade them for anything.  I can't really say she was gone too soon because she did live 84 long years.  That's a lot.  God felt it was her time to go and we all understand that.  She wasn't really sick but sometimes you just see in someone's eyes it's getting close.  We all knew she was slowly going downhill.  It's a weird feeling to know that we each have seen her within the last few weeks like something in us told us it was going to be the last without really knowing it.  It still hasn't really hit me she's really gone.  Even though I can go over there and see she is not there, it still doesn't feel real.  I don't know when it'll really hit me.  Whether it be days to months to a year from now.  I've never experienced a close death like this.  I have my moments, I visit her grave when I'm home and just talk to her.  Makes it feel like she is still here in a way.  But I know I have many great people in my life that are here to support me and help me get through this.  I don't know what I would do without them.  It's getting better day by day but there are always those sad moments but I remember the happy memories of her and learn to smile through it all. :)

Rest In Peace Grandma <3

Carrie Underwood ft. Vince Gill - How Great Thou Art