Her name is Anne Felix. Isn’t that a great name? She was a November baby like me, born November 1st 1938. Her zodiac sign is a Scorpio. Scorpios are intense and passionate. They are filled with wonder, desire, and a love to compete. That is my grandmother. When she was 23, she had my mother, a spitfire brunette who has been my rock throughout all the awkward stages I have had including that year were I wore the same sweatpants everyday… That was rough…
When I was younger I spent a decent majority at my grandmother house. She had a cute one level home out in Grand Rapids. Behind her house she had a giant willow tree that my cousin and I would climb in the summertime. Anne has always been a fan of the outdoors. She loves her garden. She loves the spider in her closet who she talks too sometime. She loves reading every type of book imaginable. But most importantly she loves her family even if she shows it in a weird Grandma Anne way. My grandma taught me the power of imagination. When I was ten she took me to the Minnesota Zoo. While we were in the gift shop she picked out the cutest stuffed tiger that we took home. On our way back, I noticed the seam had been ripped on the tigers back. When we got into the building, she instructed to give local anesthesia with one of her old tea cups as she sewed the seam together. The next day when we went to IHop, she asked the waiter for a bowl of milk for the tiger we named Rosie. That is just how Grandma Anne is.
Back in 2014 she suffered a brain aneurysm that should have ultimately killed her. Somehow she survived the darn thing and continued her road to recovery. Forty percent of brain aneurysms result in death, and 66% will have some sort of permanent damage. She beat the odds and continued her journey sending us updates on her progress. One day she called my mom up to tell us that she finally road her bike again. At this point I thought my grandmother was invincible.
Two years ago, we found out she has cancer. Bile duct cancer is what it is called, and it's mean and relentless. There are less than 20,000 cases each year. For the past two years it has been an up and down battle with the disease. Doctors have said she has three years left, others have said only three months. Finally, we were given the news that the tumor in her bile duct had not grown significantly since the last time they checked it, which meant she could stop chemo and live a few years in peace. Unfortunately, the tumor in her liver has started to take over and she is now in hospice.
Hospice. What a terrible word. Couldn’t they think of something more family friendly? This whole process has been extremely hard on her children. My mother is the strongest women I know. Seriously everyone says that but I swear she puts nails in her cereal. Every now and again I can see grandma in her. It gives my comfort to know that when Anne moves to the garden in the sky, she still will be with all of us through her children. This past weekend to celebrate new years, we all went up to her apartment in Prior Lake Minnesota to have a final family moment with her. There were tears, stories, fantastic Mexican food, but most importantly there was a sense of closure. I was sitting on the chair next to her bed and she looked over at me. My face was all blotchy and red from crying and she told me, “stop that." She looked at me so gently and told me that she felt peaceful, that she was okay and I should be too. Grandma Anne, you are one hell of a women and I love you.