Greg's sweet grandmother passed away Sunday afternoon surrounded by her family. She was 87. You can read her obit here.
Grandma Welle had been declining the last year from a variety of ailments yet she was still living in her own home by herself last week. That's exactly what she wanted. No nursing home, no fuss. It came about quickly on Friday that she would not make it out of the hospital so all of her kids and many of us others were able to get there to spend time with her in her last hours on earth. She was cognitively fully there which I'm especially in awe of (considering my family history). She was tired and conversations were short between her naps and energy level. Yet we were able to say what we wanted to say, say our goodbyes, and hear from her. Eli told her a few times "I love you, Grandma Wewhee" and oh, it was precious.
We had a family prayer service Saturday night right after the last two of her kids arrived, then a family Mass service in her hospital room Sunday morning (which, praise be, both Eli and Annalee attended and they did not interrupt or cause a fuss in any sense). Her son, Father Tony, tearfully led us in Mass and communion. She even made a joke mid-service. She said she had the best family in the world and I'm pretty sure none of us had a dry eye. It was hard to see her frail and failing, knowing the outcome, yet it was joy-filled because we knew the true outcome. The Lord greeted her hours later (the doctors removed the two pieces that were sustaining her body and it really did not take more than a few hours, truly a gift that she did not keep living in pain). Her family was surrounding her (all except me and the kids as I didn't really want them to witness that).
Grandma Welle knew what Jesus had done for her, lived her life in that knowledge and faith. And oh what a sight heaven was for her - and I assume her husband came up right after Jesus and their reunion must have been glorious. For oh my, they were in love. A true love story, those two. Grandpa died of prostrate cancer seventeen years ago and she has been yearning for him since. I loved to hear Grandma talk about him. She would still melt thinking of meeting him and their first date. How many people can boast of that love, that bond these days? Lasting years after one has passed on. I'm thrilled we get to share in that legacy.
She told me she would hug Maelee (after hugging her grandson John) and it makes me jealous to be where she is. Oh the peace in heaven! Oh the grief and yearning here!
I told her thank you for making me always feel a part of the family and she laughed and said "like that was hard!" (we did get along so, and really, Greg would agree, they may just keep me over him!). I just liked being around her. I didn't get that chance with my grandparents so I have made a better effort with these in-law grands and have been blessed because of it. Family, however you acquire them, is such a gift.
I love that we have a few decorations painted by her "dodie" and around our home. I love that even though I could never stomach one, I will always smile when I hear a "yum yum" and might just have to have one in her honor on her birthday next year. I love that she was stubborn (a family trait she passed on to her grandson, perhaps?). I love that she had a kind heart, kind words to say about people more often than not. I love her sense of humor and if in the right mood, she could have you smiling and laughing retelling stories, with a exaggerated gasp and eye roll if the story needed it. I loved watching her be overly honored during our time in Florida. I loved how she would let dating Grether and newly married Grether come and stay with her for a weekend and the yummy meals she would make us. I love that she adored our kids, especially Eli, always talking about how his eyes were so intelligent. I loved that she would be silly dressing up in clothes at the thrift store for a laugh. I love that I got to go golfing with her once and glimpse her love for that sport. I will always remember how blasted hot she wanted to be - her thermostat had to be set at 90 and really, she was made for Florida weather, her favorite was to be laying down in the sunshine soaking it all in. I love that she loved her husband so affectionately even after he passed away. Thanks for all the memories and love, Grandma Welle.
Here are some photos I conjured up to enjoy of Grandma Dolores' life:
|Gorgeous wedding couple!|
|Look at how she is looking at him...|
|August 1980 - with one adorable baby (that would be Greg)|
|Look at the difference in their skin tone!!|
|Greg sitting between these two grands of his, how special! And to note how much Annalee looks like her daddy!|
|Greg in high school with his grandparents.|
|April 30, 2005|
|We had such a fun dance - so glad Grandma Welle had fun bustin' a move!|
|So glad I got to know her and be a part of her family!|
|During our visit in September on her deck, overlooking the golf course.|