Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sara J. Paulsen 4/5/25 - 1/7/11

It's been nearly two weeks now and it still doesn't seem real. As many of you know, my grandmother and I had a special bond. For all my life, she was my biggest cheerleader and always there when I needed someone. She meant so much to me, and I'm having a hard time imagining life without her.

When my grandfather came down with Alzheimer's and her health began to decline, I put my own life on hold to move in with them and help out. I spent the next two years cycling back and forth between Winchester and Falls Church and it was never a burden. I enjoyed spending time with grandma and we always had wonderful conversations. Even with a weakening heart, she would do everything to ensure my grandfather got the best care. I was happy to be able to take on some tasks and keep her stress level down.

It was only when my younger brother, Greg, moved in with them, and they got my grandfather a full-time caretaker, did I feel safe in moving on. My grandmother wanted nothing more than for me to finish my education, and she was thrilled when I got into SCAD for graduate school. I would never have made that jump if it wasn't for her encouragement and insistence.

When I got the news that her heart was giving out, I was stunned. Just the day before we had been planning on what to do when she got out of the hospital. I was blessed to be able to have one last conversation with her over the phone before she passed. Even though I was stuck in Georgia, it was my way of being with her. Grandma got to do what so many pray for: She left this earth on her own terms. She knew she didn't want to lose her quality of life and she made to call to have no heroics. She died peacefully, surrounded by family.

Since then, it has been a whirlwind. I had to drop everything and return home to be with my family and help out the best I can. With my aunt sick (and now in the hospital) and my mother running back and forth, juggling estate planning and running a business, I had to step up and help where I could. Time for doing anything else just doesn't exist right now. I apologize to you all for giving you this notification so late. Once I got up to Virginia, time lost all meaning and I let a lot of things slide on my end.

The funeral is this Saturday, and after that I have to somehow gather my belongings, trek back down to Savannah and do my damnedest to get back to work. It's going to be a near-impossible struggle, but I will try. Grandma wanted nothing more than to see me thrive, and I will do my best to honor her wishes.