Post # 1
Hi everyone. I hope it’s okay that I post this here, but I just didn’t know where else to go right now and I thought perhaps my trusty bees might be able to help. My grandfather just passed away and his funeral is tomorrow. The biggest problem is that it’s halfway across the country and there’s no way I can make it. It’s really hard to know I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to him before he passed, but I do have some comfort that he was able to meet Darling Husband our last time in town. The last thing he told Darling Husband was to “marry her” so I do feel happy that even though he wasn’t able to make it to the wedding, we were at least able to honor his wishes.
I’ve been looking for flowers or plants or something to send to the funeral through a nationwide website (the florist that works with the funeral home doesn’t look very good so I hate the idea of sending something from there), but I wasn’t sure if that was the best thing to do or not. I feel terrible that I can’t make it, and I want some way to comfort my grandmother. A plant or flowers do seem appropriate since my grandfather used to love gardening and the outdoors and trees. But I question whether this is really the best thing or not. I feel like in some ways it is honoring his memory, but not very useful to my grandmother since she has gone almost completely blind in the past couple of years. But I don’t really know much for an alternative. I’m kind of new at this, and being so far away is really hard. Any ideas? I don’t have a lot of time to make a decision. Thanks in advance. I appreciate any and all help.
Post # 3
@arabesque0128: I’m really sorry to hear about your grandfather. I lost one of mine a little over 10 years ago and can’t imagine how difficult it must be to not be able to go to the funeral. If you don’t think the flowers are good enough then don’t send them, plus chances are there will be so many plants she won’t know what to do with them all anyway.
One idea I have is to plant a tree in his memory. I know it can be done with Arbor Day Foundation at http://www.arborday.org/join/TICTIM/index.cfm
Post # 4
First of all, big hugs to you!
Second, I was just in the same boat as you. My grandmother passed away last Tuesday. She and my grandfather live(d) in Florida, and I am in Georgia. My family went down to see my grandmother and say our goodbyes Thursday of the week before. Together with my grandfather, we made the decision to take grandma off of life support. The doctors told us if we did not, she would continue to lie there, being kept alive by machines. We knew she wouldn’t want to live that way. For whatever reason, we thought she would pass immediately. But she didn’t. She kept fighting on her own from Friday at lunch until Tuesday morning, when she took her last breath. My family and I had to return to Georgia on Sunday, and we were not able to return for her funeral. I was HEARTBROKEN over this, but before I left I said my goodbyes and gave her an extra long hug, for what I knew would be the last time. 🙁 My fiance told her he’d take good care of her granddaughter. I am still not over her loss, but if I could offer any advice, it would be to let your grandmother know that you are there for her in any way possible. Call her often to check on her. When you are able, go and visit with her. Do you know any of her neighbors? If so, get in contact with them and ask them to keep a check on her. We did all of that for my grandfather because we want to make sure he is taken care of as well. We call him every day or every other day to see how he is. Even though we are not able to be there physically, he knows that we love him and care about his well being. Sometimes just telling someone that you are there for them goes a long way.
I am very sorry for your loss. 🙁
Post # 5
@Kari 2012: Thank you, Kari. I have been looking at the trees that you can buy from the florist and plant in their honor, and I loved the idea, but I didn’t want to buy one and than add to their stress by them not having a place to potentially plant it. I tried to see if there was a way to donate a tree to a specific place (i.e. the park my grandparents used to take us to when we were kids), but I haven’t had much luck with that route. So maybe going with Arbor Day Foundation would be a good idea. She wouldn’t be able to ever actually touch/feel the tree, but maybe knowing that it exists is enough.
@Madi.So.Excited: Thank you, Madi. It’s been very hard for me to get back to see them. We live in NYC and my family is back home in Iowa so it’s a pretty long trip. I’ve been in school and out of work for a couple of years so it’s been tough to fly back more than once or twice a year. I saw my grandparents for the last time over the holidays. I think one of the hardest parts is that we were supposed to fly back a couple of weeks ago to try to celebrate our wedding with my family back home, but because of some unexpected medical expenses, we had to extend school an extra semester and pay out of pocket so we had to cancel our trip. My grandpa hasn’t been doing well for awhile now, but I thought he would make it another couple of months until the holidays when we were trying to plan another trip. But then my brother called last week to tell me he came down with pneumonia and they moved him into hospice. I have tried to call my grandma a few times, but I’ve only been able to reach her once so far. I’m going to keep trying to call. My biological father (we’ve been estranged for about 15 years) has been checking up on her regularly and she has been staying with him for part of the time. I’ve also been in close contact with my older brother who has been visiting her every day. She’s living in an assisted living facility and my brother is friends with some of the staff who say she is pretty social there. So I think she at least does have a lot of people around right now. Darling Husband and my plan is to still try to come out for the holidays since we figured that would be around the time that everyone else starts to move on and she starts feeling more alone. We thought maybe we could try to come out for a longer stay and stay with her for a couple of days. She has their 61st wedding anniversary right in between Thanksgiving and Christmas so I thought that may be more useful for her than me trying to figure out how to fly back now. I just feel completely helpless being so far away and guilty that I can’t help be there for anyone.
Post # 6
im so sorry for your loss 🙁 funerals can be a major part of our grieving ritual and its unfair that you cant go to his. i think while the funeral is going on tomorrow, you should take some time to honor your grandfather on your own. maybe talk to Darling Husband about the things you loved about him, what you will miss etc.
as for your grandmother, since you cant be there in person to comfort her, what about sending her a package of some sort? since she is going blind, maybe an audio tape with a message of support and some of those memories of grandpa?
Post # 7
@arabesque0128: I got chills reading your post because my grandparents would have been married 61 years on November 24th. Weird right?!
I think going to see her for the holidays is a great idea! Being alone on the holidays after having just lost someone tends to enhance the lonliness. We were immensely worried about my grandfather in the days before my grandmas passing because of some weird comments he made, but although he is heartbroken, he had a lot of time to prepare for her loss. She had been going downhill for 3 years. He was ready for it to be over by the time it happened. He wanted my grandma to be at peace.
Post # 8
@arabesque0128 Sorry for your loss! Hugs!
When my grandfather died I was overseas too (in school) and unable to attend the funeral, it was the week of finals and just crazy! So, I can relate to your circumstances. I think its soo nice what you are trying to do, perhaps you can send a fruit basket or edible arrangement instead of flowers. And also be sure to call your grandmother either the day of or the day after the funeral, maybe even also mail a card or letter that you can arrange to have someone read to her and then visit her when you can as planned. Life is crazy at times and hopefully the people in your family will understand the situation that you are in. Please dont feel guilty, your heart is definitely in the right place and thats a beautiful thing.
Post # 9
@bostongirl27: That’s a great idea. I was thinking about trying to get one of those cards where you can record a message. I’ll just have to try really hard to make it concise because as one of my dear friends constantly reminds me, I an LOB’er (lack of brevity). Thanks for the suggestion.
@Madi.So.Excited: Wow, it’s crazy what a small world it is. I feel so bad for her because towards the end, they transferred my grandpa to a nursing home and separated him from my grandma who was in an assisted living home. I do think she had lots of time to prepare and knew it was coming, and I actually feel better that she is in the home now because she does finally have people around her again (for as long as I can remember, they have always been somewhat isolated in their house; the only time they would ever leave is once a week to go out to dinner). I think that has been really healthy for her because I’ve always worried about what would happen to her if he passed away (she was always very traditional so she never really had an outside job; the neighbors mostly moved away many years ago, and with the exception of her one time out to get her hair done once a month, she was always at home with just the two of them). I am happy she has friends and staff around now (not that I approve of her taking up smoking again so that she can spend time with them…which is why my my brother says I probably can’t get ahold of her). But I do have to laugh because apparently she says she started again because she needed time away from my grandpa. Which he then proceeded to start smoking for the first time so that he could join her on her “smoke breaks”.
I am also grateful that at least in his last couple of days, she was around him almost nonstop. They let her come into his room while he was in hospice and she stayed at his side the whole time, holding his hand and telling him it was okay for him to move on and that she would be okay. So I do take comfort that they both had that, and that hopefully as much as she’s hurting now, some of this will help her cope from here.
Post # 10
Could you go visit your grandmother some other time in the near future? With all the visitors and everything happening right around funeral time, there might be so much going on anyway that you wouldn’t get to spend much 1:1 time with her… but in a few weeks, when things start getting lonelier, it might be nice to have a family member drop in again.
I didn’t get to attend my grandmother’s funeral, because of some scheduling issues… but I went up and visited with my family anyway a few days later. I still got to ‘honor’ her through listening to their stories and talking with them about her.
Just find some time to think about your grandfather, and try to talk to your grandmother about him when you get the chance. I learned so many neat things I never knew about my grandpa, after his funeral.