On October 28, 2007, at about 4:15 PM my cell phone rang displaying the name "Grandma."
My 92 year old Grandmother still drove a car, whipped me in Scrabble, and sang in the church choir, but rarely used her cellphone, so I was concerned that she was having car trouble. I answered cheerfully and was surprised to hear a strange female voice say, "Do you know Lillian Esrey." My heart jumped as I identified myself. The voice told me she had been in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. She sobbed as she told me it was really bad.
The wreck was barely three miles away but the voice said the ambulance was already on scene and was to take her to a trauma center in Memphis. I broke down when I told my wife but regained my composure when I told my mother that we needed to go to the hospital.
We never saw my Grandmother alive again. The next day I had the task of identifying my Grandmother's broken body as it lay motionless on a stainless steel table. I choose to go to the morgue alone. I'm glad that only I carry that image.
The man that killed her eventually plead guilty to negligent manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
At the time of her death my symptoms were just manifesting themselves as something that was degenerative. Her instant removal from my life changed me and is a line of demarcation that I will never be able to recross. I miss her daily.