No one could ever replace my great-grandmother, but I wouldn't want them to either. She was one of a kind, and absolutely adored and looked up to by everyone who had the chance to know her. I've lost one of the most special people I've ever and will ever know.
With the loss of her life comes her gain of peace, and the thankfulness that we were together for the final 13 years of her life. Everywhere I go there are memories of her. Everything I do comes with her comments at the back of my mind, complete with the tone of her voice.
I'll never forget the last few days I spent with her. She'd had a heart attack that no one knew about until several days later, when we took her to hospital following doctors recommendation. We called a doctor to look at her after she'd had some trouble breathing, and he discovered water in her lungs. The next few days she spent in hospital I am extremely grateful for. My family came together and we took it in turns to be by great grandmas bedside, she was never left alone. We all had a chance to say goodbye to her.
She went in on Wednesday morning, and after uni I came to visit her (and brought her a pizza as she wouldn't eat the hospital food, but she does love meatlovers pizzas :) ). The next day I didn't have uni but was meeting up with a friend to go the movies in the morning, and afterwards I came to see her. I spent the rest of Thursday afternoon with her and my aunt. Great grandma was so chatty and was telling us stories about her husbands (she was married twice, my great-grandfather was killed in the second world war when my grandmother was very small), about how they were both friends when they were young and lived in a village adjacent to hers with a river in between. She would switch from one topic to the next and it was a little difficult to understand her at times, but she was laughing and enjoying us listening and talking to her and that was all that mattered.
When I left that evening she was sitting on her bed with one of her great-grand children sitting on either side of her (my cousins) and I waved goodbye to her, she looked so cute and precious and waved back, an image that'll stay with me forever.
On Friday I had uni in the morning, and went to see her afterwards. I stopped by the florist at the hospital to buy her some flowers which were purple and pink (her favourite colours) as I figured two days had already passed and her room was still without flowers, totally unacceptable. She was there with my cousin and grandma, but then my cousin had to go work so it was just me and my grandmas in the afternoon. When I got there she was sleepy, so I tried to do some study (my exams were a couple of weeks away). As the day went on she became more alert so I abandoned study and talked to her. Half the time I didn't know what she was saying (she doesn't speak english and my serbian isn't great), I was sitting on her bed holding her hands and she was looking into my eyes and talking enthusiastically. At one point she started laughing so much she had to close her eyes :)
I was tired and she seemed to run out of things to say for the moment, so I half layed down on the bed next to her on my stomach with my legs dangling off the bed. She started stroking my shoulder and my arm, and as I was laying there I was thinking to myself how precious this moment was and that I never wanted to forget how lovely her hand felt. She told me that if I was tired I should grab a pillow and try and sleep at the end of her bed (her knees were bent) as there was space, so I did just that. Well, not sleep but I layed there watching her try to sleep, so peaceful and relaxed. There were tears in my eyes and I was fighting them, but I was smiling at the same time, and locking away the happy feeling of being so close to great grandma.
The next morning I went to see her with my uncle. She was having her breakfast, and watching the horses racing on her TV. I remember going to her bedside and she asked me: "What's your plan for today?" to which I replied: "I'm going to study today and come back to see you tonight" and she said she was glad and continued on to tell me to study and do well at school (as she always does) but to also take breaks sometimes and not get overworked. After she'd had breakfast I went to sit next to her on her bed and she pointed to the flowers I had got her the day before sitting on the nightstand at the end of her bed and told me I had nice taste and that they were pretty. When we left, she kissed my forehead (as she likes to do) and I kissed her and hugged her and went home.
I had a nap and studied, and mum and I went that night to go see great grandma.When we got there, my grandma and cousin told us that she had passed away 20 minutes before. It was a shock, she had been doing so well the few days before that we all thought she would make it out of hospital. I sat with her for about 10 minutes holding her left hand, it still felt like she was in there somewhere and I wanted her to know I was there for her and that she wasn't alone.