It seemed like every piece of good news was tempered by another setback. Even on the days when she was doing well, I felt the pressure of knowing this would probably be our last visit together, because it will be a long time before we are able to make another trip out there.
On that one bad day, when she held me close to her like she never wanted to let go, I knew exactly how she felt about me, and I know she understood my feelings as well. I told her there was still one more day left, and I would be back to see her. "One more visit, Grandma. I love you. I'll be back tomorrow." She nodded, and closed her eyes.
The next day, the night before we left, she was awake and much more like her usual self. As she gave me clothing advice, she told me I was beautiful. She told me she was proud of me. She told me she loved me. I held her hand, feeling the strength in her grasp, and told her how much I loved her. I told her how thankful I was to have her in my life. I thanked her for all the prayers and love she has given me. I leaned close, to hear her whispered words of love.
There was a lot of talk about last words, of saying everything that you want to say. Do you realize how impossible it is to sum up a whole life in a few sentences? Do perfect words even exist? But I realized something. We didn't need to share special last words, not the kind of last words so often spoken.
I don't have a score to settle with her. I don't need to offer or ask for forgiveness. I don't need last minute advice, because she has always poured out her advice on me - the most important of which is to follow God. I am not afraid for her soul, that was settled long ago, and I know Jesus is waiting to welcome her home when the time comes. I never had to wonder where I stood with my grandma. There has only ever been love between us.
I'm thankful for that today. I'm so thankful that we spoke the most important words every time we talked, in every card we exchanged, in every thought we had of each other. Because our last words are just an extension of the words we always shared.
In this, there is peace.
I love you, Grandma. I always will.