“Almost heaven, West Virginia”

On May 15, my dad’s mom, affectionately known as Grandma Lily, passed away. It came as a shock to us all. She had suffered a heart attack three weeks prior to her death, but they had done surgery to correct part of the problem and we all thought she’d have at least a little bit more time. She was released from the hospital on a Friday and died the next day. I was so happy to hear that she got to spend a nice, relaxing day at home with family and wasn’t in the hospital for her last day.

Still the sadness and the guilt felt overwhelming. The guilt was due to the fact that it had been years since I had seen her and months and months since I had last spoken to her. I wish more than anything that I would have insisted that I speak with her while she was in the hospital. But dad thought it would be too much for her at the time and no one could have known that we had so little of it left.

So May 20th I headed up to West Virginia for her funeral. She and her husband (my step-grandpa) had lived in Florida near my dad for the past 8 years, but they are all originally from a small mountain town in West Virginia. It had been 10 years since I had been up there, so despite the sad circumstances of the trip, it was nice to go back. Nice to see the places I hadn’t seen in years, nice to see the family that I’d lost touch with, nice to meet the newest family members that weren’t alive the last time I was there.

Here are some of the pictures that I took:

Almost heaven, West Virginia….

Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River…

life is old there, older than the trees. younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze….

Country roads, take me home,
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain momma,
Take me home, country roads.”

So many memories. We used to always drive to West Virginia when we were kids and as we crossed the state line, my dad would play the John Denver song above and we’d all sing. It felt so wrong to be there without grandma. It was the first time all of her great-grandchildren were all together, and she wasn’t there.

I love you grandma. And I miss you, now and always.