I woke up this morning to a text message from my mother-in-law informing me that Will's grandmother passed away last night. This didn't come as a complete surprise; his grandmother Peni has been sick for a long time, and a few weeks ago she was put on morphine. She suffered from a disease that is very similar to ALS, and this past year has been particularly difficult for both Peni and her family. It's always a blow to everyone to lose a beloved family member, but at the same time it's somewhat of a comfort knowing that she is finally free from pain and at peace.
I only met Peni a handful of times, as Will and I spent five years overseas and then we became parents shortly after returning to the States (and lived in a different part of the country), but she could always make me laugh with her straightforward, tell-it-like-it-is attitude and humor. She worked as a nurse for a very long time, and I was always amazed by her stories of caring for patients, staring down arrogant doctors who liked to give nurses an attitude (particularly back in the 50's and 60's), and raising and providing for her family after a divorce. I'll never forget a story she told me about Will when he was a child; she lived in Florida for a long time, and Will and his sister would travel there for visits and the occasional trip to Disneyworld. When Will was younger-elementary school age-they had spent a long day at the Disney parks, and the whole crew stopped at a restaurant before the drive home. They sat in the booth, and the waitress came to take everyone's drink orders. Will announced, "I want a strawberry margarita!" Peni was shocked (I mean, how many school aged children even know what a margarita IS??), and she told Will he couldn't have a strawberry margarita. Well, Will threw a tantrum to end all tantrums, and they ended up having to leave the restaurant with Peni dragging a hysterical, enraged Will out to the car. She laughed and said it never even occurred to her to ask the waitress for a non-alcoholic margarita, and I assured her it probably wouldn't have made much of a difference. I'm fairly certain Will would have found some way to throw a tantrum that night!
Today as I go about my daily routine, I will remember a woman who worked hard at a job she loved, raised a family, and cared deeply for her children and grandchildren. I will thank God for her release from pain, and pray for the comfort of the family she left behind. I feel blessed to have known Peni, however short of a time, and I know one day she will be able to meet her family again.