Lorena Imogene Barbour (1922-2005)

I spent part of this evening watching as mom, aunt and brother sifted through boxes upon boxes of my grandmother’s photos.

Her vitals had fallen yesterday, and the lady from hospice said it wouldn’t be much longer. There wouldn’t be time to bring her home. Family was called and we came to this foreign place to hold her hand.

How much thinner she was from just Thanksgiving.

How the structure of her face was visible.

How each of us would take turns bedside.

I looked at her more intently than perhaps I had ever looked at her before. Her skin, so radiant and clear. Her hair, although in disarray, was thick and mostly not gray. I wished selfishly for those genes.

She squeezed our hands and said things. I hovered inches from her mouth to hear the words, “It’s all been so wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful…” trailing off as she would close her eyes and give the hint of a great smile. Like she just had the best lemonade in the heat of summer.

These moments happened between abrupt starts of wide eyes and clutching. Clutching her robe, the oxygen line, the air. And then to sleep.

She passed shortly after the final family member left for the night. Peacefully.


  1. my thoughts are with you, chris. i have lost a brother and my mother. isn’t that whole process of death surreal?

  2. My condolences.
    We lost two people in our family: my husbands’ Nana and a family friend. Both lost to cancer.
    Your post was short and very sweet. Made me feel like I was there in the room.
    Glad she had family with her at the end.

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