Today at "Sunday's at Grandma's" one of Nora's grandma's tells her tale of how excitement and anticipation to be a first time grandma turns to despair in a moment.
I vividly remember the moment that Lindsey told me she was pregnant. Bob and I were making dinner when Lindsey called. She was with Nick—in Hawaii—on a short vacation while Nick was on TDA (temporary duty assignment) there. They were sightseeing. Lindsey made small talk for a minute, then asked me what I wanted for Christmas. My inner voice replied ‘a grandchild’ but I really didn’t want to put pressure on either of them, so my next thought was that they found something in Hawaii and wanted to check with me prior to buying it. In the usual, no pressure way, I replied, “I don’t know.” Lindsey then said, “How about a grandchild?” I was elated, so elated that I broke into tears. I let Bob have the phone while I sank to the floor and cried tears of joy. I was so excited! The only stipulation from Lindsey and Nick was that I couldn’t tell anyone until she was farther along—another 4 to 5 weeks! I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I was going to be a Grandma!
Later that summer the doorbell rang. I answered it to find flowers being delivered. Confused, I mentioned to the delivery man. “Who would send me flowers?” He said he, “Wasn’t sure, but they sent a balloon.” Not catching his clue I signed for the bouquet and brought them inside. Our dogs were around my feet so I was looking down trying to avoid stepping on them while I walked the bouquet to the dining room table. I set it on the table and finally looked at it---the flowers were pink and the balloon said, “It’s a girl.” I screamed as I danced around the room, like a child myself, and ran up the steps to tell Bob—they’re having a girl! After raising two daughters of my own, I knew how much fun having a granddaughter would be.
A PUNCH IN THE GUT
The phone rang in the middle of the night. My eyes lazily opened and I smiled as Bob answered the phone. My inner voice said ‘the baby is on her way’. I heard Bob on the phone—short comments—I thought at one point he said “Nick?” Then I heard him say, “We’re on our way.” As he hung up the phone and walked to my side of the bed I wondered why we were leaving right away. Our plan was to go up in a couple of days to see the baby, after all were back home. I sat up as Bob approached the bed; he kneeled next to me and said, “The baby died.” I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach as I doubled over in sobs. Words like ‘no’ and ‘why’ kept going through my head. Bob told me that the Doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat when Lindsey got to the hospital. He held me while my body absorbed the news and shook with the inevitable sobs of disbelief and horror.
I have felt grief over death before. My Mom died when I was 16 and at the age of 25 my father died. This pain was so much worse than what I had experienced before. My granddaughter, innocent, and beautiful-even though I had not seen her—was gone. How was Lindsey? How was Nick? What must they be going through? I needed to be there for them.
We had already packed bags to make our trip to Minneapolis to see our new granddaughter. Even with that it took us 2 hours to leave—there were showers to take, dogs to ready along with all their paraphenalia. I quickly threw a funeral outfit in my suitcase. Then the inevitable phone calls. The heart wrenching phone call from Kristi when she found out and called. I could hear her body sobbing and heaving with sorrow and I could do nothing to stop it. I wanted to hold her and tell her it would be okay—even though that was a lie—but I could do nothing except to tell her to get to the hospital as fast as possible to be with Lindsey and Nick.
I quickly went through the Christmas presents we were taking up to the Cities. I weeded out all the baby gifts, and any gifts with references to ‘the new daddy or mommy’. It just seemed too cruel to present baby gifts. We had purposely decided to postpone a family Christmas celebration until after the baby arrived. Christmas and our new granddaughter would always go hand in hand from now on—or so I thought. But now in a different way.
I cried for the whole five-hour drive. Bob kept his composure by making phone calls and getting angry—wanting to know why. I kept wondering when I would wake up from this nightmare.
Part of me is still waiting to wake up...
-Nora's Grandma Gerry