My grandmother passed away last week. Her funeral was on Sunday. I wasn’t there.
She was 94. When she got pneumonia and then developed a MRSA infection, we knew it did not look good. I was sad, but it was easy to rationalize things from a distance. She’s 94. She’s lived a good life. These things happen.
Then I talked to my sister. I talked to my Mom. I felt the tears that I had been avoiding. I couldn’t rationalize anymore.
We knew when we got the call that we would have to move quickly. Would I go? Take the kids? Just take Mac? All of us go? Gulp, not go?
See, Mac is still nursing. Because I didn’t go back to work this time, I haven’t been pumping. I don’t have a freezer full of milk. I have a baby who isn’t used to bottles. (Although I guess he could just use a sippy cup.) I knew there would be a cost to this approach. I thought it would be not straying too far from the baby for about a year. I didn’t fully understand that it would mean wrestling a 20 pound octopus on an overseas flight with two connections . . . or . . . missing my grandmother’s funeral.
I tried practicing with Mac. Holding him in my lap. We could make it about five minutes. I just couldn’t imagine the flight by myself.
I couldn’t imagine leaving him either though. I couldn’t help thinking if only he was just a tiny bit older. Or if only he was a few months younger and could sit there like a newborn lump.
I got mad. Mad at myself. How did I get myself into this situation where I couldn’t leave him or go with him? Why am I so scared of my own kid? People do this and much much harder things every day. “Why can’t you do this?” I berated myself over and over.
James and I talked through all the scenarios. We talked about jet lag. Car seats. Ability to sit together on the plane.
And in the end, we decided not to go. We had justifiable reasons. But I can’t help thinking that they feel like excuses. I think it was probably the right call. But I feel crummy about it. I won’t be able to let this go for awhile.
I wanted to be there to honor my Grandmother. I wanted to be there for my dad. I wanted to be there for the rest of my family. I wanted to be able to cry and grieve with the people who loved her and then laugh and help each other build ourselves back up.
We talked about my Grandmother a lot this weekend. I showed the boys pictures. It still doesn’t quite feel real.
I’ve included her obituary below, but I’d like to tell you a little about my Grandmother. She was a very special lady. She was a nurse, and told me once that the doctor on her floor called her Mac, a name I’ve passed on to my own little guy. She raised four children. She loved a lot of grandchildren. She loved my grandfather dearly, and she has been without him the last 20 years. Even though my boys won’t remember it, I’m so glad they got to meet her. I’m glad she was able to meet them.
My sister and I loved spending a week with my grandparents each summer. She taught us how to quilt. We went on long walks. My grandmother loved being outside. She would soak up the warmth like her body temperature depended on it. She gardened. The beach was her happy place.
Whenever you said you were going somewhere, she’d say “bring me a rock.” See, she collected rocks. People brought her rocks from all over. She didn’t really have them labeled or separated, but when you presented her with a rock, it was like you were giving her the world. It could be a cobblestone from Rome or a rock from a local park; she loved them all.
I haven’t brought her rocks the last few years. She downsized when she moved into an assisted living facility. She downsized again when she moved to a higher care floor.
This weekend, Henry handed me a rock. Instead of letting it fall from my hands, I put it in my pocket. And I’ll keep putting rocks in my pocket wherever we go. And when we do get to go home, I will bring my grandmother fists fulls of rocks.
Carolyn Crabtree McAllister Moose
February 14, 1921 – March 11, 2015
Carolyn Crabtree McAllister Moose, 94, was born on Valentine’s Day, Feb 14, 1921, in Mt. Pleasant, NC. She was the daughter of the late Col. George Franklin McAllister, Headmaster of Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute, and Ethelyn Crabtree McAllister, educator at Mount Amoena Seminary also in Mt. Pleasant.
She was predeceased by two sisters, Virginia McAllister Smith and Elizabeth McAllister Boozer, and two brothers, Franklin Grady McAllister and Thomas Caswell McAllister.
Her formal education included Newberry College, Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing, and graduation from Queens College with a BS in nursing. Following her work as an obstetrical supervisor at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., she married the late Harry Edwin Moose on March 16, 1946. She moved to Newberry, SC and was blessed with four children, Harry, Jr. (Karen), Jan (Stuart Ballard), Tommy (Jane) and Richard (Gail). These children provided Carolyn with 11 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. She is also survived by a brother-in-law, Ralph H. Moose.
Carolyn devoted her life to her husband and family, participating in all activities from church to school to music to all things Clemson.
She also enjoyed yard work, traveling, cross stitching, and quilting, making a special quilt for each of her children and grandchildren.
She was a devoted, active member of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer serving as a choir member for many years.
Carolyn’s love of her family and people was her cornerstone in life. She truly believed she was that person who wanted to live in a house by the side of the road and be a friend to all.
For those who wish to honor Carolyn, the family suggests donations be made to the Organ Fund of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 1515 Boundary St., Newberry, SC 29108 or to the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society, 1100 Main St. N, Mt. Pleasant, NC 28124, which serves to preserve Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute main building and library.
Active pallbearers will be Henry Brock, Tom Hegele, Brent Ballard, Mark Ballard, Stephen Moose, Brandon Moose, Don Whittington and Billy Moose.
Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Francis I. Fesperman Sunday School Class and members of the choir of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.