Friday October 28th, my family and I celebrated my grandfather's retirement. It was a beautiful breezy day, and it was an emotional roller coaster as my grandfather and mother begin this journey in their life together.
Saturday morning I got a call that my grandmother had a heart attack in the wee hours of the morning, and that she was at DRMC. I got up immediately showered and headed down to the hospital. When I got there, they had found bleeding on her brain, so she had also had a cerebral aneurysm. We had her care flighted to Baylor in Dallas where my family sans Gavin and me stayed the night in the waiting room outside of the ICU.
Sunday morning we headed back to the ICU. The neurosurgeon told our family that she woke up that morning probably with a bad headache, then walked to the restroom and passed out into an irreversible coma. The doctor explained to us that she was instantly brain dead which led to her cardiac arrest upon my Aunt and cousin finding her. She was not in any pain, which gives us much comfort, and the passed quickly once we turned off the machines. We were all present at that moment on that very sad Sunday afternoon. My grandmother was 65 years old and in wonderful health. There was nothing that she nor any of us could've done to prevent this from happening or save her once it occurred. It could happen to any of us.
Her visitation on Thursday evening was full of much sadness, heartache, but it was really wonderful to see all of her friends and our family come from long distances to pay their respects to such a wonderful lady. Her celebration of life was Friday morning at Cross Timbers Church of Denton, and it was a very beautiful service. I sang Ave Maria because my grandfather had requested it to be sung at her service, and I know that my grandmother was watching from Heaven, excited that I was singing at her celebration. She always asked me to sing at family gatherings and events, and I was always too shy to do so, so I felt honored that I could bless my grandmother with this final gift.
I will always treasure and remember you dear Patricia Strickland. You were a wonderful daughter, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend, and you will be missed dearly in all the remaining days of our lives. I hope to see you again in the great hereafter when God calls me home.
Love your granddaughter,
Gabrielle Kronenberger Watson
PS. My heart has been heavy for the last week, but full of joy too. It's so hard feeling conflicted between joy and sadness at such a moment of loss, but as the Lord takes one life from us, he blesses our whole family with another. Gavin and I expecting our second child. I'm 7 weeks, so still very new and in my first trimester. I leave this in God's hands. If this child is meant to be, it will be. I think that he is giving us this life to help us to overcome the sorrow that he knew that we'd be feeling with the loss of the matriarch of our family. We found out the week before my grandmother passed away, and I told her while she was in a coma at the hospital. I know she heard me. I know that my family has been suffering, but I also think this news is helping to alleviate some of their suffering; God has found a way to ease our sorrows and is helping us to come together to usher new life into this world and our family.
They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing.