Spoiler alert: This isn’t a happy post. If you’re looking for the typical amusing fare which we as a couple provide, you might want to skip today’s post.
You’ve been warned.
I (Mighty) have been very lucky through my life to have 4 grandmothers. The two women who gave birth to my mother and father, and then two more who have been there for my entire life as added “bonus” grandmas. This is about one of those extras: a beautiful and kind woman named Sherry. We always called her “Mon Chéri” which means “My Sweet.”
Sherry and my grandmother (my Mom’s mom, Marie), have known each other for well over 50 years. Family legend has it that they sat down next to each other in the OB/Gyn office when each were heavily pregnant with their daughters and struck up a friendship. They’ve been two peas in a pod since, and the girls grew up very very close.
But then this horror happened over 40 years ago. Both families, but especially Sherry was devastated (as would anyone be), and to cope she adopted my mom as a surrogate daughter, thus bringing about the additional grandmother for my sister and me.
And what a grandmother she’s been! She’s always had a vitality which has been unmatched by anyone we’ve known. I have fond memories of her taking us kids to Elitch Gardens and her sharing her “secret” plans to marry my sister to her actual grandson and me to her granddaughter. For her 65th birthday, she bought for herself a tattoo of a bee wearing a crown on her ankle, because she was the Queen Bee. She wanted another tattoo as well just in case her favourite necklace should ever fall off. A lovely silver pendant with the letters “DNR” emblazoned in stark relief on it, but she was told by her doctor that such a tattoo wouldn’t actually hold any legal standing.
Mon Chéri had a heart attack and at least one, likely a series of strokes earlier this week. She’s been moved to hospice care and in keeping with those wishes which she fervently has, she is being given only morphine to keep her out of pain. No additional life-saving efforts, including food and water. In short, she is dying.
Charming and I are in Denver to see her and hope that some of her last impressions can be of her great grandson, who loves everyone but especially old ladies. This post is not so much to bring people down, but more because so many people have expressed concern, and so I thought I should give an explanation for my sudden departure from work and our equally sudden drive to Colorado. There are just some things . . . some people . . . who are so special that you have to do things like this for. Sherry is their Queen Bee.
Today we went and visited Mon Chéri again, and while we were there, she woke up. She focused on me and smiled and I said “Hi Sherry, it’s me! We’ve come for a visit!”
She said something, which I couldn’t quite hear, so I leaned in closer. She grabbed my hand and in the most perfect Sherry-like fashion said “You give me that baby RIGHT. NOW.”
They held hands for a while, and he kept losing his binkie because he kept trying to grin at his great grandma. Which lead to crying. Which lead to more binkie. Rinse and repeat.
Sherry wasn’t awake for long, but she did drink some water while we were there. She also asked after my mother and was excited to hear she was coming tomorrow.
This is genuinely the best thing which we could have hoped for short of a full recovery via some sort of angelic intercession. Oooo, or aliens. Aliens would be totally cool.
At around noon, local time, Sherry Burt passed away. She was 80 years old. She was with her son Allen at the time and appears to have passed peacefully. Sadly, my mother and sister had just arrived and were in the parking lot, on the way in to see her when she passed and they did not get a chance to see her, however they are very happy to have been there for Allen during his own time of grief. Charming and I joined them soon after.
Sherry will be very VERY sorely missed in the world.