wood + copper

grá againn duit seanmháthair

janet jacob2 Comments

The handsomer half of wood + copper, Will - has this amazing mom, see.

Carolyn was diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2013 and has been fighting it (HARD) ever since.

She lives way out in Wisconsin, and was scheduled to come spend a few summer weeks with us, like she did last summer - 

Carolyn, her two baby boys, and her sweet daughter-in-love, Crystal floating around Cedar Lake, summer 2015

Carolyn, her two baby boys, and her sweet daughter-in-love, Crystal floating around Cedar Lake, summer 2015

As the travel dates started to get closer, everyone sort of realized she wasn't quite well enough or strong enough to travel, and all the kids and grandkids in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania (and some NY family, too!) began booking plane tickets, asking for time off work, finding places to stay, etc - we took the party to her.

This particular branch of the Jacob family tree (the Will, Janet, + Noah branch) decided to road trip it out there, stopping briefly to see Niagara Falls because the signs told us it was only 40 miles out of our way! Such a beautiful place. We plan to go back sometime, when passports are in hand, and see the Canadian side, as well.

This was both mine and Noah's first time in Wisconsin - my first time meeting my sister-in-law Barbara and her babies, and Noah's first time meeting his youngest cousin, Anna - as well as the first time Barbara and her 3 boys have seen Noah in about 8 years! Back when he was a little bitty kindergartner, not a six foot high schooler!

There were many...many games of driveway cousin-vs-cousin basketball ...

and some football tossing...

We had a deLICIOUS taco dinner our first night in town, Nana got lip-sticky kisses from her baby granddaughter, and the sour cream alllllmost went everywhere #itwasagoodnight

it was Will's sister Maureen's birthday that day, so we celebrated with a gluten-free, dairy-free cake (Carolyn's baby sister and her daughter were there to celebrate with us, as well!)

Despite the insane heat, there was PLENTY of hugging, snuggling, kissing, hair-braiding, lap-sitting, hand holding, cuddling - so much affection shown in this lovely family <3

Will decided to shave off his beard - for the first time in...like....5 or 6 years...so his mama could see his face and kiss it good. Everybody else decided to ..add...hair to their faces... what?!

did I mention it was the first time - ever - that all of Carolyn's grandchildren were together in the same place at the same time!? 

We made sure to take plenty of serious *ahem* pictures with our beloved mom-nana-auntie-sister-wife. <3

as the week went on, however, Carolyn's health rapidly declined. A hospital bed was put in her room. Her baby boy, my strong husband, carried her into her bedroom and placed her in it - she stayed in that bed, in her bedroom, until she passed away. We spent a lot of time in that room with her, making sure she was never alone. We sat with her, we sang with her, we played the music she wanted, someone (unnamed - I ain't no snitch) gave her a little whiskey, we held phones for her so she could speak with loved ones for what turned out to be the last time. We cried when she cried. We gave her water, and yogurt. We kissed her. We laughed with her when she laughed. We put her favorite perfume on her. We painted her fingernails all pretty.

We answered her when she asked things like "will my parents be there waiting for me?". We all did what we could, and she held on, listening to Fight Song and garnering strength from various Irish tunes while she waited for her last two grand-babies to arrive on Friday night, July 22nd. Daniel and TJ got there, loving on Nana commenced, spaghetti dinner was had - and we dispersed to the places we were going to sleep. Will spent the night in her room with her, and he dreamed he got to take her dancing, as a young - YOUNG lady, and they swirled the night away. We all just...did what we could.

She passed away, with her firstborn in the room with her, and everyone else not far away, on the morning of the 23rd.

Which also happened to be little Anna's 7th birthday. 
So now ...we have a new family holiday, Anna-Nana Day - celebrating the life of the youngest grandchild, and the life of the funniest, chattiest, booty-shakingest matriarch you ever met.

We had a party, and cake, and presents, and corned beef and cabbage and potatoes and....you guessed it, more Irish music and whiskey - to celebrate both lovely ladies.

Our branch of the Jacob family tree had to leave the following day, but not before....you also guessed THIS - more pictures!

Will and his siblings are back in Wisconsin this weekend for their mother's funeral.

No one expects to lose their mama in their 30's. Please keep Will in your thoughts, your hearts. This is rough on the wood + copper household, as could be expected.

The title of this post means 'we love you, grandmother' in Gaelic. She requested cremation, and asks that her ashes be scattered in Ireland, where her family is from.  

 

No one worries about you like your mother, and when she is gone, the world seems unsafe, things that happen unwieldy. You cannot turn to her anymore, and it changes your life forever. There is no one on earth who knew you from the day you were born; who knew why you cried, or when you’d had enough food; who knew exactly what to say when you were hurting; and who encouraged you to grow a good heart. When that layer goes, whatever is left of your childhood goes with her.
— Adriana Trigiani, Big Stone Gap