The last couple of weeks have been difficult for my family, to say the least. My dad, Nellie, and I travelled to CA to visit. We arrived on Monday, May 3rd. That very evening my grandmother, Mary, my mom and aunt’s biological mother, fell in the middle of the night. The next morning, when we found her, we called 911 because we thought she may have hit her head. She did.
Phone calls from countless doctors came flooding in all day Tuesday. Over a mere four or five hours we got news that she had, in fact, hit her head and had some swelling. But what they said next was more than we were prepared to hear. They had found multiple brain tumors.
My grandmother has epilepsy so we had just had brain scans done 6 months before and there was nothing. Confusion set in immediately. But we now had an explanation for why she had been so confused and unstable in recent months. Then, more phone calls. As it turns out, she had ovarian cancer that had metastasized to her lungs, then to her brain. Information that families usually get over a period of months was given to us over a period of hours.
She was brought home the evening of Wednesday, May 5th on hospice. She was unable to swallow, speak, or see. They told us she had 1-2 weeks.
That was a lot of words to get to what I really want to say. And that is that you never know what kind of life someone has lived. You never know someone else’s experiences. It’s difficult to really know someone.
I did not know my grandmother growing up. She lived in Missouri for most of my life. So, as kids, we called her “grandma from Misery (Missouri)”. For us, reality was that we had a grandma that we didn’t know. And, truth be told, neither did my mom or aunt. As all of us do, my grandmother made choices that ended up having lasting effects on those around her. And unfortunately that meant that we never got to know her the way we would have liked. There was so much about her life that we were oblivious to and that made it hard to understand her and the way she thought about things.
However, the Lord gave my family a beautiful opportunity to learn things about my grandmother that we didn’t know. And what it taught us was that someone’s circumstances shape who they become. The relationship between my mom and aunt and their mom has been strained for a very long time. And something like that causes more than just broken relationships.
I call the opportunity beautiful because in the last days of her life we were able to reconcile feelings that we weren’t sure would ever change. We were able to pray with her and let her know that she was loved.
She peacefully passed away last night.
Because she couldn’t communicate with us, I don’t know if she made the decision to accept the Lord into her heart. But I hope she did. I wish we had known who she was and how she grew up and what she thought of the world around her. My only hope now is that she chose to go with the Lord and will see us again one day.
Rest In Peace.
Mary Ursula Clark
November 17, 1937 – May 17, 2021