Another guardian angel

I’ve been sitting here typing and retyping sentences for this post, but none quite seem right.  I suppose I just don’t have the words to describe the emotions that have been running through me for the past week.  

The world lost a wonderful, beautiful, funny, kind, happy, fun-loving woman Friday night.  My grandma, Martha Burns, passed away fairly suddenly last weekend, and it truly rendered most of us speechless.  

I was in bed, snuggling up for the night when I received the news.  In fact, I had just wished my sister a happy early birthday, as it was almost her birthday in England when I was getting ready to fall asleep.  Not long after that, I heard my iPad ding with an iMessage, pretty much the only way to keep in contact with people in the states.  I checked and it was my sister letting me know that g’ma wasn’t doing well and that mom and dad had had the medic take her to the hospital.  I guess she had been having some pain that week, and was super weak that evening.  My dad, being a medic himself, saw that her EKG in the squad didn’t look good, and really started to worry.  They got to the hospital and long story short, her potassium and other levels were out of whack, and she turned for the worse fairly quickly.  Overall, it was a very surprising, very sudden, but very quick ordeal.  We were all pretty stunned, and I was miserable being thousands of miles away.  Thank goodness Brandon was there to comfort me.  I finally fell asleep that night (thank you melatonin), knowing I needed sleep and could figure out what to do the following morning.  

I knew I wanted to be home with my family to grieve and be a part of celebrating her life, but also knew that came with a hefty price tag, travelling from across the pond.  Thankfully, my parents graciously paid for my flight so that I could be “home” in Ohio for the week.  So, as I type I am sitting in my parents’ living room (again, jeez, haven’t I spent enough time here in the last few months!?!).  Saturday was a blur of finding last minute tickets and figuring out the logistics of Brandon getting me to and from London Heathrow.  I suppose the timing was better than it could’ve been, as my paperwork for my job was still being processed and I wasn’t working yet.  This was another reason I was pretty anxious about getting home, as I knew B would be working all week, and I would be home, thinking, wishing, getting angry and upset.  I am beyond thankful that I was able to get back to the states.  

So I flew home Sunday…4:30am wake-up, two hours to London Heathrow, 7 hour flight, an hour or so in Newark including customs and such, {UMM HAVE I MENTIONED THAT THE NEWARK NJ AIRPORT IS HORRIFIC AND I VOW TO NEVER FLY THROUGH THERE AGAIN UNLESS I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO????? OK. GOOD. I MENTIONED IT AGAIN. If you love yourself and your sanity, don’t fly through Newark.} then an hour and a half flight to Ohio.  I arrived in the afternoon, but felt like it was bedtime.  My sister was already there, having travelled from Tennessee the day before.  We had quite a bit of preparation to do before the visiting hours and service, so that at least kept us busy and our minds occupied.  The next two days were a blur of visitation hours, seeing a million people and answering a million questions, lots of flowers and kind words, and of course, the service and burial.  We laughed a lot and cried a lot, hugged a lot and held each other a lot.  

For those of you that don’t know, the Potter side of my family (my grandmother’s maiden name is Potter, and there are a LOT of us!) is pretty phenomenal, as was my grandma.  There is so much I want to say and feel like I should say, but I know it would overwhelm most people.  First, I just want to say that my family is strong.  We have seen so many ups and downs and continually are there for each other, never giving up hope and always loving.  I can’t even explain the kind of bond that we all have, because it’s beyond words.  I am just thankful every day that I have them and I know that I can count on any of them, at any time.  I want to say thank you and I love you to all my cousins/aunts/uncles/however-you-are-related-to-me relatives, especially those who held us together this past week.

As for Grandma, she was a trip.  As I said before, she was the kindest, most fun-loving person ever.  Sometimes she drove us absolutely crazy, but she was amazing.  I can remember as a child sleeping over at her house all the time.  The cousins would all sleep in the living room, on a sheet laid out on the floor.  I can still remember the smell of those sheets.  They smelled glorious.  We would always ask for a “bread, butter & sugar” for snack, or eat fresh cucumbers or peppers from the garden.  I can remember tons of Christmases at her house, with that horrible silver tinsel that got stuck to everything!  Opening our stockings was the BEST part of Christmas there, and all the way through adulthood, she would still fill stockings for the grandkids and their spouses.  There are too many memories with her and my papaw to even try to relay them all.  And I heard even more this week, most of which were heart-warming and hilarious.  I was incredibly lucky to have spent so much time with her this summer, since I was “home” in Ohio for 7 weeks.  We did lunches, dinners, time at the lake.  As crazy as the last few months of my life have been, I am so grateful that I did end up in Ohio for so long, and got to spend so much time with her.  I will be a bit heart-broken at my wedding, as all she did was talk about watching B and I get married.  She was SO excited to see B in November.  My only solace in that is that she technically did see me as a married woman, and I’m sure she will be watching over us in November.

I am thankful also that she slipped away from us quickly, without suffering, and after living a full, fabulous life.  We have seen suffering, heartache, lives taken too young in this family.  While I would’ve loved for her to be around much longer, I am so glad that she lived a happy, relatively healthy life up until those last moments.  I also feel relief in knowing that the love of her life who left us 15 years ago was there at the gates welcoming her with open arms.  We joked around that he was getting tired of being up there without her, especially putting up with everyone else who had gone before her.  We know she is up there having a big old celebration with papaw, Glenn, Nick, Shirley, Bill, and everyone else who has passed.  I am amazed by how much she had been through, how she had lost almost everyone that was close to her, and how she still managed to be such a positive, cheerful, giving, happy woman.  I don’t even really know where I am going with this post, but I do know that I wanted to get something out  “on paper.”  Grandma will certainly be missed by many, as was made obvious over the last few days.  Sorry if this was a jumbled mess, but hopefully it will mean something to someone, and be something to look back on in hard times to come.  If you want a good laugh, please check out my new Facebook album, “Throwback Thursday”…going through pictures for the visitation hours certainly conjured up a lot of good memories, along with great hair, outfits, and awkward stages of growing up.  

❤ ❤          

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