On Monday of last week I needed to go up to my baba's (what we call my maternal grandma - it is Russian) place. She was having a health crisis and my mom wasn't able to go up right away. What followed was a week that felt like the longest nursing shift of my life. We got her admitted to her small town hospital and unfortunately there were a few major misunderstandings and some poor communication. Those things did not affect her outcomes, and I don't hold it against the hospital. These things happen.
On Thursday we finally confirmed she had had a heart attack and was in heart failure (something that I had suspected for two days) and were able to transfer her to the nearest cardiac care unit. The nurses and doctors there were truly some of the best I have come into contact with, and the care and kindness they provided to Baba and our family is something that I will never forget. I can only hope that I can give another family the kind of peace they were able to give us.
On Sunday morning, Baba told us she was tired. She couldn't keep fighting any more - it was her time to go see her beloved late husband (our Opa) again. We were so blessed to have her able to communicate with us until about 20 minutes before she passed. We were blessed that she could tell us what she wanted, that she wasn't afraid, that she was ready, and that she loved us all so very much.
But our hearts ache for our own loss. As blessed as I know I am, I can't help but think of the gaping hole left in our family.
I don't know if many other people have the same kind of relationship as I did with Baba. She really wasn't just a grandparent. During the many summers and holidays that I spent with her, we developed a friendship - I grew common interests through the things she was teaching me. I learned to love cooking and baking and crocheting. I learned the true meaning of undying love when we lost Opa and she kept on loving him just as much as I'm sure she did the day they were married.
I dread the day when I am in the kitchen and have a question, because the first person I would go to is Baba. I never needed to google these things, because Baba was only a phone call away. It seems silly, but I think this is where I will feel her absence the most.
But there are things this week that have reminded me of how truly blessed I am, and I would like to give a quick thanks for those now. I am thankful to have been able to spend Baba's last week with her. I am thankful for friends who came over the chat and surprised me with flowers. I am thankful for friends far away who showed me so much support through a very difficult time. I am thankful for a mother and father in law who invited me and my dad over for a birthday supper while my own mom was away planning Baba's funeral, salvaging what could have been a pretty terrible birthday. I am so thankful for the never ending support of my husband, who loved Baba and loves my family as much as I do. I am thankful for my mom and sister who are just as strong as they are tender. And for the love of my wonderful family. And I am so thankful for getting to love and know Baba for all these years.
How lucky I am, to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard (Winnie the Pooh).