When I touched down in Albany, just a few hours after I said goodbye to my grandmother, I received an email from my mom saying that she had taken a turn for the worse. In the week that followed, she was in hospice care at her apartment. With my parents by her side, she slipped further and further away, until finally she was gone.
During that week, I was lucky enough to speak with her on the phone during one of her cogent moments. "I love you more than words can say," she told me. "And I always will." I told her I'd see her in the goldenrod and the sunshine and the bright blue sky, and we told each other we loved one another until there was nothing left to say. That was the last time I spoke to her.