I wrote the post below a few weeks before Mom’s BFF and guardian angel Gaby went home on August 20, 2014. I wish I had broken my promise to Gaby, but I know she forgives me about the shrimp. She was full of gratitude and forgiveness and joie de vivre. On the anniversary of her rebirth, I went and sat by her grave and asked for her guidance as I’ve done several times since she left us to raise Cain. I can’t help missing her and regretting the promise I should have broken. But I’m happy she’s in a place where she has more power to watch over Mom and me. I love you “ange Gabrielle” <3
Flashback July 31 2014: Yesterday morning I went grocery shopping. I bought frozen raw shrimp on sale because I planned to have Mom and her BFF Gaby for dinner this week. Shrimp salad is Gaby’s favourite. She talked all winter long about how she would come to my place in the summer and have shrimp salad. She would give me the money, she said, because shrimp is expensive.
“You don’t have to give me money, Gaby,” I said. “I’m inviting you, I don’t want you to pay.”
“But I want to pay!” She insisted. We argued back and forth. I finally agreed to take $5 from her wallet.
“That’s not enough,” she said.
“It is,” I replied. “I’ll wait ’til they’re on sale. I promise.”
Last year Gaby and Mom came for lunch or dinner often in May, June and early July. I blogged about one of the most memorable occasions here. But this year something always seemed to get in the way: it was too cold, or it was raining, or Gaby didn’t feel well, or Mom wasn’t up to par, or it was Wednesday and I was golfing. Or shrimp wasn’t on sale.
On July 1, when we sang O Canada together, the two of them hadn’t been to my place yet. On July 8, I said enough is enough and up they came. We had egg salad because shrimp still hadn’t been on sale, and I had promised I would wait. A week later, I brought them up again. The drizzly conditions weren’t ideal, but it was warm enough for them to sit in the screened-in porch without sweaters. They chatted and watched a flock of seagulls on the lawn. We didn’t have shrimp salad because shrimp hadn’t been on sale. We had tuna instead.
It was magical to spend time with Mom and Gaby, and to witness Gaby’s unconditional love for my Mom. We had a lovely time.I was reminded once again that Gaby is most definitely an angel. Just before dinner she said something I will remember forever, or at least until I get Alzheimer’s too:
“That’s nice of those birds to come here. And walk around for us to watch them.”
A few days later Gaby fell and broke her left foot. They took her to the hospital where they put a walking cast on it. But Gaby hasn’t walked since. I’ve popped in to see her every day. She’s on the third floor in the room next to the room where Mom used to be before Mom moved to the second floor — the “locked down” floor — in April. Gaby has lived at The Home for about six years. She had never been to the second floor before Mom moved there. Once Mom relocated, Gaby became a regular visitor. When Mom was sick in May, Gaby often sat by her bedside in the afternoon and watched her sleep. Yesterday afternoon when I stopped in to see Gaby after grocery shopping, she wasn’t there.
“She’s in the hospital,” someone in The Home grapevine said. Today she was back at The Home. But it won’t be for long. Gaby is dying. She’d set her sights on 100, and she only had 18 months to go. She would have been 99 in February. Apparently it’s not about her broken left foot; it’s a problem with her right leg. Her niece said the doctors told Gaby they could amputate her leg. They told her if they didn’t, she wouldn’t live much longer. Gaby decided against amputation. Her niece said she had a smile on her face when she conveyed her decision to the doctors.
I’m heartbroken she’s leaving. And I’m SO pissed off I didn’t buy the shrimp when it wasn’t on sale. Some promises, like some rules, are meant to be broken. But I know Gaby is going back to her real home. She’ll be there to kiss Mom’s cheek and hold her hand when Mom decides to go too. It was nice of our very own angel Gabrielle to come here and walk around with us for a while on this earth. I’m so grateful for her and the wonderful moments we shared. I’m especially thankful for the kindness, compassion and love she showered on my Mom for the past year and a half.
Now it’s almost time for her to fly.
July 31 , 2014
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