She May have Died but She will Never be Gone
Late last night, right before midnight, my grandmother (mother's mother) died of a massive aneurism. She has had several smaller ones over the last couple weeks, but this last one was massive and pretty much did her in. They struggled a bit to see if they could save her, but in the end they had to decide to do doctor voodoo and keep her alive on machines alone or simply let her go. She wouldn't have chosen to live like that, so they let her go.
Very few people in my family really understand me or my interests, especially this whole gaming thing, and my grandmother was no exception. She didn't get what it was that I did or what the hobby was all about, I think she thought it was computer related, but she knew it interested me and fully supported whatever I chose to do with it. Even as a kid.
When I was around nine and was fully getting interested in RPGs (it was all D&D at the time) my grandparents were the first in the family to chip in and buy me game books. They got me the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide, despite being told by the religious groups about how evil they were and the fact that the covers depicted demons and thieves. She trusted me enough to know I wouldn't ask for something bad or evil and they got me the books. This was really the start of my full obsession with RPGs.
As the years went on she was always asking about my interests in games and computers (I do still think they were the same thing in her mind) and wondering when I was going to strike it huge with it. She would often reference how Bill Gates did the same thing and look at him now. She never got that there was no Bill Gates of gaming, at least not in the money sense, but I figured it was pointless to try and correct her. She was simply supportive of my interests and life goals, even though she didn't understand them.
In recent years I have been visiting them both less and less, as life and distance seems to always take over and it seems like there is always going to be time for visiting later. I still have visited them more than most members of my family, other than my mother, and was lucky enough to get to visit with my grandmother just a few weeks ago. She was still a little loopy from the drugs they had her on and the effects of the small aneurism she was dealing with, but it was nice to see her nonetheless.
I will be spending a lot of time in the coming days and weeks talking to and spending time with my family, dealing with the loss of such a loving and wonderful woman, but it won't be the same as having her around. No loss among my family or friends we've had in the past will be felt as much as Grandma's passing. She was the central hub that we all moved around for the last... well... at least 50 years or more for some of them.
The only good thing I can say about how her passing happened is that we don't have to go through what we did with my great grandmother, where we watched her slowly deteriorate over the course of a decade or more, eventually becoming someone none of use even recognized any more before her passing. This was fast and relatively painless, letting our memories of her remain clean and fresh and happy. Letting us remember the wonderful woman we got to see and visit with, even just weeks ago.