When Mom called last night and said, "S's Mom died." My first thought was "S who?" It's not that I don't know S, as she's been my sister-in-law for nearly 20 years, but it never occurred to me that her Mom would pass so soon.
Really, I have two grandmothers who are well past 90 years old. One has advanced Alzheimer's. If you haven't seen it in person, you might not really understand how terrible it is to watch someone you love sit in a chair staring blankly into space, and to know that someone has to care for her like she's a baby. The other one is starting to lose her memory and often doesn't know our girls.
I expect the phone call soon for either of them. I would welcome it for my grandmother with advanced Alzheimer's. But S's Mom? It never even crossed my mind.
My first thought was it's just not fair. A woman in her early retirement years goes to lunch with her husband, daughters and grandchildren, goes home not feeling well, take a short nap, and then dies. She has nine children, more than 40 grandchildren and about a dozen great-grandchildren. She's the kind of no-nonsense, big family matriarch you see in the movies. And we all love her.
It's really the best tribute to someone isn't it? No matter what her professional or civic accomplishments, her greatest pride was her family. We're all better off for having known her. I know life isn't fair. Really, I'm a grown up and intellectually, I do know that. Yet, today, I just cannot stop thinking, "it's not fair."