It's kind of embarrassing, now, that I have so little to say.
We saw my grandmother twice last month. We saw her at home on Mother's Day, and then on a Saturday two weeks later in the hospital. She was doing well both days; we picked two of her good days of the roller-coaster that has been her last six weeks or so.
The last thing she said to me as I left was, "I love you, Jason." I think she suspected she might not get to see me again; I suspected the same.
I have been privileged in my life to have known all four of my grandparents, as well as one great-grandparent. Grandpa (Weldon Nelson Nygren) died in March 1989 at age 68, when I was 12; he's the only one I never knew as an adult. Papa Joe (Joseph George Benda) died in March 2003 at age 85; Grandma JJ said at the time that she didn't want to live as long as he had. Grandma Jeff (Daisy Fay Jeffery), Grandma JJ's mother, died in February 2005 at age 93. Grandma (Ruby Nygren) died in December 2005 at age 80. Grandma JJ is the last to go, in June 2011, four weeks short of her 83rd birthday.
I feel like I'm writing an obituary to say she's survived by all six of her children, 11 (or 14, depending on who is counting) grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. It's still true.
Now is not the time to think about the future, the family politics that will by year's end shape the future in ways we do not yet know. Nor is it time to dwell on the past. Our family's matriarch has done all she can, and now she has left us. Her legacy lives on, of course, in each of us. We would never be who we are without her.
She did a good job.