Losing Joy. Finding Joy. Literally.

Okay, get ready for one hell of a story.

So a few days ago I told you that my sweet granny was in the hospital with covid and wasn’t expected to make it. This was fraught with complicated feelings because she has dementia and wants her parents and was absolutely ready to go to see them. None of us could be with her because of covid but hospice was there in the hospital and I know that the covid units (while flooded) are still filled with nurses and doctors who care so she wasn’t alone.

Yesterday we got the call that she had passed peacefully and it was sad, but it was also a relief. If heaven exists she’s there with her parents and her husband. I talked over the phone to my mom and sister and we alternately laughed and cried together because we look for joy whenever we can. In fact, my grandmother’s name is Joy. It’s a family name. She was Joy Nell. My mom is Nelda Joy. My sister is Lisa Joy. Her daughter is Gabi Joy. And it fits because my granny was the most stubborn, joyful, quietly fascinating person. She was a country girl who sewed all of her own clothes. She was a black-jack dealer in Reno. She was a factory worker in Texas. She was a single mother of three young kids when single mothers were not really a thing. She was a voracious reader and I inherited all of her Stephen King and Ray Bradbury and other dark novels that inspired me growing up. She dumped the serial cheater (sorry Grampa) and never looked back and found my Papa, a wonderful man to spend the rest of her life with. She was amazing and sarcastic and always let you know that she was in charge.

My calls with my mom kept getting interrupted bc a million people were calling her about arrangements over the next few hours and I joked with my sister that every time it happened I assumed someone was calling to say granny was alive again because she’d decided she wasn’t ready after all and was too stubborn to stay dead. We laughed. I told my mom the same joke when she called back and she laughed. We made our plans. There will be no funeral because it was too dangerous. Their town is a hotspot and their covid units are full. My mom and her brothers would be there when they put her in the ground. And next year when things are better (please let them be better) we’ll have a memorial and celebrate her life together. I desperately want to go to the burial but it would break my heart even more to see my mom and not be able to hug her or go to her house so I will mourn from here.

A few hours later I got a call from my mom. “So…remember when you were joking about granny coming back from the dead?”

“Um…yeaaa-“

“Yeah. She’s alive again.”

Y’all.

wtf.

Turns out there are a lot of patients in the covid unit and the hospice worker who’d called my mom got their wires crossed about who was dead, and the reason we even knew she was still alive was because when our funeral home went to pick her body up the regular nurse was like, “Well you can’t have her because she’s not dead yet.”

The hospice worker was beside herself with apologies but luckily my mom is the kindest person in the world and found herself laughing because this is exactly the kind of story my granny would find fascinating. So mom got off the phone to call everyone to tell them granny wasn’t dead. I waited about an hour so she’d have time to call everyone and then I texted my sister.

Turns out mom hadn’t gotten to Lisa yet because she was too busy telling people to stop digging graves and retract death notices and other things you don’t expect to be doing on a weekday so Lisa found out by text that our granny had returned from the dead.

And it was an incredibly complicated afternoon of feeling sad yet relieved that granny was dead and then guilty confusion when we found out that she wasn’t dead and also punch drunk hysterics over a story line that granny would have fucking LOVED. My mom had to put a pause on the obit and I mentioned that she definitely needed to put both of granny’s death dates in there when she did eventually die. Lisa and I decided that if granny didn’t have her first and second death date on her tombstone it would be a total waste of a tombstone and we started figuring out how much it would cost for them to add both because we were definitely springing for it.

Victor would check from time to time to see how granny was and I’d say, “Oh, she’s still dead” and he’d say, “WHAT?” and I’d be like, “Wait. UNDEAD. She’s still undead. Or ‘not dead’. Fuck. It’s confusing dude.” And then he’d go hide in his office because he didn’t entirely understand the quickly alternating heavy tears and peals of giggles as my sister and I told granny stories to each other as Gabi Joy yelled, “IT WAS JUST A DRESS REHEARSAL” in the background.

And then a few hours later mom called me again and was like, “Okay, she did it this time!” and I was like, “Are you sure?” and she was like, “I mean? Pretty sure?” And instead of getting super sobby like the first time granny died that day we were able to laugh and it was the most healing sort of thing. I have no doubt that granny probably planned all of this. It was late so I didn’t call Lisa but this morning I hadn’t heard anything so I texted her just to check:

I’m almost certain granny decided to die twice on the same day because she knew Lisa and I were going to buy a new tombstone and she really hated it when you spent money on her.

Victor sent me a photo he’d taken of me with granny and papa and my mom on one of the last times we’d all been together. We were looking through her photo album and she was telling me amazing family stories and we’d all laughed until we cried. I wish I could back in time to tell her that she’d created one that will live on forever in our family.

But somehow I suspect she already knows.

289 thoughts on “Losing Joy. Finding Joy. Literally.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. What a beautiful, funny story. I am so sorry for your loss, but she sounds like she was amazing and will be with you always. Plus…you have THE GREATEST story to tell. Ever. Like…you just win storytelling.

  2. Pretty sure your granny arranged all of that on purpose to make you guys laugh one more time, and every time you tell this story from now until forever. Truly sorry for your loss and hoping this little bit of silly helps you heal.

  3. You guys are amazing, and I’m sorry for your loss(es?!), but happy she is at peace and you all had a cathartic and healing time through it all. I lost my grandma in April, and I was looking through the notes on my phone and found a random quote I had obviously (correctly) considered worth noting:

    M&Ms
    They may not melt in your mouth, but I bet they’d melt in the toaster…

    -Grandma Jackie

    Love and healing to your family!

  4. In Judaism, we say, May her memory be for a blessing. Looks like it already is. May her memory always bring you joy.

  5. I’m truly sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful person. But what a fantastic story and it sounds just in keeping with her. Laughing through our tears is the only thing that keeps us going. Love to you and your family.

  6. This really helped me. I have known my grandma is really sick and has been for years. It breaks my heart and you are in my thoughts while things happen and I hope next year everything is better so you guys can go and celebrate her life. This makes me feel that even in the darkest of moments life can still have some joy.
    I really needed this and I thank you for sharing such an experience with your audience.
    Victor caught a beautiful picture.
    -With much love,
    Dakota M.

  7. Emotional rollercoaster sans seat belts, I’d say. Your granny sounds like a great character and I’m sorry she’s gone, but glad she went out with a lot of pizzazz. I hope you can keep her alive, figuratively speaking, in your heart and memory.

  8. Laughing and crying and laughing again with you.
    I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Thank you for sharing your Joy.
    Literally,

  9. I’m so glad you all embrace the gallows humor because I swear people must think me and my mom are awful humans when we talk about when my grandmother dies like it is a conversation you have with guests over tea. She’ll be 101 in a few weeks so it’s not like death would be shocking at this point. Hell she’s been ready for over 10 years now since she literally told me that she is ready to go. I think she is bored at this point but no one is rushing her out the door just yet.

    Glad you found joy. I have a feeling she wouldn’t have wanted this any other way.

  10. Your granny definitely knows what happened. She may have even orchestrated it, if she was already half in the spirit world before she passed, which I think is a thing that happens. Also this is totally some stuff my grandma would do, and I’m going to tell her the story in your granny’s honor.

  11. That was beautiful and wrenching and hilarious! Thank you for sharing. Zombie Granny for the win!

  12. She may have been stubborn, but also considerate with a wicked sense of humor. Condolences and Cheers?

  13. I am sorry for your loss, because it is always hard. But the crying and laughing kinds of grief can be the most amazing.

  14. No joke, the same thing happened in my family. Only my Grandma lived another couple of years! She was in the hospital with pneumonia and at the change of shift, the woman in the bed next to her passed away. The new nurse coming on mistakenly gave the wrong name. Thinking back on it makes us laugh like crazy but at the time it was definitely disconcerting! Much love to you and your family and may your granny rest in peace. <3

  15. You and your granny just made my day. I think she planned the whole thing a long time ago because she predicted you guys would need to laugh. Love and peace to you and granny!

  16. Sorry for your loss. But don’t you just love people who not only pass away at the end of their lives, but also in a way that befits them. Sending hugs, and laughter.

  17. What a great story. Thanks for sharing it with the world, you bring such joy. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  18. Although we’ve never had a family member die twice, all of our funeral devolve (or is it evolve) into laughter. Everybody in my family has done many, MANY ridiculous things, and we all bring them up at the funerals. They’re dead, so they can’t tell us to stop embarrassing them.

  19. That. Is. The. Best. Story. Ever. Zombie Granny!!

    Also, how lucky you are to have so many wonderful memories of her and so much laughter. And yup, she probably is laughing in heaven.

  20. My condolences to your family, and I’m glad that you were able to find happiness and laughter in the midst of the sorrow.

    Our family had a belated memorial when my grandma passed away a few years ago. We’d all just flown in from all over the country a month before on short notice when my uncle passed, and couldn’t face flying to a different part of the country a few weeks later, right before Thanksgiving, for another short-notice funeral. We had a memorial get together in the spring, when the weather was better, and it was great. We traded stories, and looked through photo albums, and saw family who weren’t able to go to my uncle’s funeral.

    I hope your family is able to get together in the spring and celebrate your Joy.

  21. And here I thought our almost getting kicked out of the funeral home during my grandmother’s wake for laughing too loud (we were disturbing the obviously boring funeral in the main room) was a blast! Thank you for this wonderful story.

  22. This is an amazing story and sounds like something that would happen to my family. I’m glad you’ll have yet another memory of your grandmother to make you smile. My grandmother also has dementia. She got covid as well, but thankfully it was a very mild case. At the same time, I went through all those complicated feelings. My grandmother still remembers who her kids and grandkids are. The great grandkids and extended family are harder and she asks the same question repeatedly during any visit. We often talk about how losing her to something like Covid or her breast cancer coming back would be better on everyone, including her, than this horrible disease continuing to tear her down. We hate oursevles a little bit each time we say it, but there is a lot of truth in it.

  23. So sorry for your loss, but this sounds bloody PERFECT and so in keeping with how it sounds like your grandmother was.

    I’m on a web site called Metafilter and something similar happened there – there’s a part of the site where people can post questions about stuff they need help with, and someone posted a question – their father had just died, and they were going through their father’s files and found a file on his computer called “Jokes”. And inside was a list of ONLY THE PUNCH LINES of a whole bunch of jokes. They posted the list, and asked us if we could provide the rest of the joke. We all chipped in to fill out the jokes, and added that “boy, how fantastic is it that your father arranged things so that you’d be having a bunch of people telling you jokes to cheer you up right now?”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/how-metafilter-brought-a-deceased-fathers-jokes-back-to-life/274599/

  24. In Greek Orthodoxy we say “Everlasting be her memory.” I don’t think that’s gonna be an issue, she sounds like a lady who would be hard to forget. What a gift!

  25. It’s like when you just can’t leave the theater because you just love the movie you just watched so much, and then they stick that little bit of extra movie at the end, just to reward you for sticking around. Or when you go see a band you love and someone says “they never do encores” but you stick around anyway and they do a surprise encore. I love that!

  26. I’m pretty sure she had a hand in leaving you all with one last laugh. I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing woman who made a great impact through the people she left behind. Much love to you all.

  27. Not kidding, a good friend received the call that her Mom had passed, and when she went in to say her goodbyes she was like “um… that’s not mom?” Turns out they had two of the Mary/Marie’s in long term care confused.

  28. My dad was on home hospice a few years ago. The morning he passed, it was just my mom with him, as the nurses hadn’t arrived yet for the day. She couldn’t hear or see him breathing anymore, so she panicked and called the nurse, who was on the way. They told her to put the oxygen on him, and they would be there soon. They knew he was gone, but also knew she needed to feel like she had done everything she could.

    So my mom calls me to tell me that my dad has died. I immediately call work and tell them I’m leaving for my parents’ house and that I don’t know when I’ll be back. I cry and pace and pack a bag. I start making calls to friends and family to let them know he was gone.

    A few minutes later, my mom calls back and tells me she’s not sure he’s dead. Ummmm, what? Then why tell me he was?! She was like, well, I’m pretty sure, but he could be alive, so don’t tell anyone yet, ok? OMG, Mom. So I cal work back and tell them that we’re not sure if my dad is dead, but I’ll update them when I know. She called back a few minutes later, once the nurse had arrived, to confirm that he had in fact died.

    It was sad but it was also kind of a cluster, which is exactly what I expect from my family.

  29. My Granny died of covid too. Back in May. Unfortunately she only died the one time, so no anecdotes here, but definitely the same mixture of relief and sadness. I’m sorry for your loss.

  30. Simply awesome. May your granny’s memory be a blessing, but it sounds like she already is!

  31. Well done Granny, well done.
    I’m very sorry for your loss. It sounds like a life well lived.

    P.S. Am I the only one who thinks Haley looks just like her in that pic?!

  32. This is the most incredible dead, not dead, dead again story I have ever read. I’m sorry your Grandmother died, but thankful you have a humorous story to comfort you.

  33. I love this story! Granny sounds like she was a great gal. We have experienced many events in our family, that convince us that our parents, after they passed, are both still messing with us. It is great comfort. I say, that if it feels like Granny had a hand in all that, she did. Sorry for your loss, but so glad that you have such a wonderful family with whom to share your grief.

  34. My middle name is also Joy! It’s a family name as well, shared by my mom and newborn niece.
    This is such a heartwarming story and definitely had me tearing up. Thank you for sharing!

  35. You could write the story in her voice “The Day I Died Twice” . My mother was an impish, hilarious prankster, and would have loved this story.

  36. What an amazing, funny , sad and incredibly sweet story. As far as dementia, it is a terrible affliction. I went through it with my mom. It’s a blessing for them when the pain and suffering finally leaves them and they’re at peace. My heart is with you and your family as you share memories and tears and laughter.

  37. I am so sorry for your loss, but this story will bring you, I think, another piece of the obviously beautiful tapestry that is your grandmother.

  38. What a gift of Joy she gave you at the end. My condolences and virtual hugs to everyone in your family.

  39. This was the best, saddest, funniest, most interesting, most real-life, wonderful story I have heard in a long, long time. Thank you for sharing.

  40. This was fantastic and just. I’m so sorry for your loss but at the same time I am so happy this is memorable for you in a good way too.

  41. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Such a wonderful memory to look back that softens blow and brings a smile and “Joy’ into your heart. I do believe you Granny may orchestrated this way a long time ago just she could see her family laugh smile as per usual and have one last good story about her to tell.

  42. Is it normal to be laughing so much when someone is saying they have lost someone so close to them? Because right now I’m really confused – your ability to completely subvert reality is one of the reasons I love this site so much.

    I’m so sorry for your loss, it never gets easier, but please know we’re all here thinking of you. Your grandmother left you laughing, and you will remember the laughter long after the pain has faded. And please, when you’re ready – more stories about this amazing lady.

  43. I’m sorry for your loss Jenny. Granny’s poor nurse was probably so relieved you all took the confusion so well!

  44. Joy is a good name. Of course, I say this because my middle name is Joy, and I was given that middle name because my godmother is Diana Joy.

    I am so sorry for your loss, but I feel like it happened in the best way possible in terms of allowing you several moments of levity in the middle of your sorrow. Both of my grandmothers have dementia now, and while I am sorry to know they won’t be around much longer (one isn’t really *here* as she’s on a feeding tube and there’s no hope of recovery, the other is kind of lost in a dream world of her own making, but at least I can still have conversations with her)… I know I will also be relieved for them when they pass. Both are widows, and both of them also want to be with their family members that have already passed.

  45. I’m so sorry for your loss but have to applaud your granny’s senses of timing and humor. I think it might be a special Grandma talent—halfway through the funeral for mine, I locked eyes with my mother and we burst into hysterical laughter. As in: had to leave the church and go sit on the curb until we got ourselves under control.
    That still makes me smile—I’m convinced it was my Gran’s final gift to us. As the double departure may have been your granny’s gift to you!

  46. I’m sitting here with tears on my cheeks over your granny who I never knew but with joy in my heart for you all. And my own daughter who also has the middle name Joy beside me. I hope we have the same relationship when she’s older as you and your family do. Xx

  47. And I thought we were bad for horrifying the priest when he asked whether my dad had any wishes for his funeral and I responded with “Viking ship cremation on the pond out back,” and my siblings broke out into hysterical laughter. Mom was mad but they were all “But that’s what he said!”

  48. I always thought Hailey looked like the best combination of you and Victor. I was wrong. She looks exactly like Granny. Exactly. What a wonderful women for her to aspire to.

  49. I’m sorry for your loss, but I want to thank you and your granny for the best death story I’ve ever read.

    I guess I’m sort of a zombie, because a professional association listed me as deceased in their newsletter, when they should have just noted that I was booted for nonpayment of dues. (My employer used to pay dues to 2 professional societies as long as one was that particular group. Then they would only pay for 1, and I chose a national organization instead of a regional one, but never officially withdrew.)

  50. Sounds like my family’s sense of humor. A friend of my sister’s said she never laughed so much at a visitation (for my dad) because of me. My dad would have approved. He added things to his service to make us laugh that no one else understood.

  51. “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” ~ Steel Magnolias
    Hang in there and virtual hugs to you and yours.

  52. This is a wonderful story, I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad you are able to find Joy (pun intended) in moments of sadness.

    When my grandmother died, myself and my sisters were all there with her. I have seen a few people die, so I knew what to expect as far as “noises” but neither of my sisters did. She made a weird moan/gurgle, and my oldest sister (who is disabled), said without a hint of joking in her voice “I think Grandma just croaked”, and I had to hold back laughter while holding back my other sister (who was ready to lunge at her throat). It’s dark humour, but honestly, I love that memory.

  53. I am so sorry for your loss but what an amazing story! Also, your daughter looks JUST LIKE HER. Love to you and your family.

  54. I’m sorry you lost your granny. Twice. But, I totally understand the relief after an alzheimer’s diagnosis.

    I bet she’s loving what happened, though. She’s up there giggling!

  55. What a story! And it sounds completely fitting for a woman with her sense of humor. I live in Reno, so I will be smiling at the memory that she was a blackjack dealer here. Much love to all of you!

  56. I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had a pretty amazing grandma!

    Something very similar happened with my grandmother in July. She lived four more days past her initial reported ‘death’ and it was pretty traumatic for the whole family. I love that you all were able to find some laughter in the pain. Laughter is the best. I applied for a new, funnier family but I haven’t heard back yet.

    I have two timepieces from my grandmother’s house and neither of them keep perfect time. It’s almost as if she sending me a message about how I view time and somehow that feels exactly perfect to me.😉

  57. I’m so so sorry for the loss of your grandma. It’s been nearly 15 years since mine passed and I still miss her.

    But, this sounds just like it should be part of that Monty Python sketch.

  58. THANK YOU. This made my week. I am so sorry for your loss, but it is like she gave you this one last gift. When my grandma dies she got lost on the way to the funeral home. It was a whole thing. They finally found her in an ambulance bay.

  59. Oh, Jenny, I am sorry your grandma is gone, but surely this is the best way to go – with an amazing story to share and pass on. Sending love and hugs to you and hoping you and your family are able to heal and honor your grandma in the weeks, and months, and years to come.

  60. I don’t mean to steal your thunder but this totally happened to me too!! This was years ago when my mom called to tell me that my dad‘s mother was in a coma at the hospital and was not expected to make it much longer. A little while later I left work and drove to the hospital. When I got there I thought it was a little odd that nobody was around but I went into my grandmothers room and she was lying in bed in a coma, I took her hand,bent over and kissed forehead and told her I loved her of course I was crying. She then opened her eyes and said well I love you too! And completely scared the shit out of me…. A few minutes later the rest of my family walked in and that’s when my mom informed me that she had woken up about an hour ago. She just hadn’t had time to call me yet….

  61. This just happened with my great aunt. Except…my cousin was with her when she took her “last” breath. She’s still hanging on… she just needed a little more time, I guess. Sending love and hugs.

  62. OMG, best story ever! I totally believe your grandma knows and she is cracking up because she made dang sure she went on her terms and made sure it was a death you’d remember forever.

  63. Holy Toledo! Sorry for your loss but what a story! No one in the family will ever one up that!

  64. Best death story ever! Of course I send you my warm condolences but holy moly, what a way to go! Sounds so perfect for her. I’m sure now you’ll all be laughing as well as feeling sad when you’re missing her.

  65. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I do love that story. I’ll bet that your granny is laughing right along with you right now. My father was one of the best and kindest people I’ve ever known, and he LOVED to make people laugh. I think that one of the best ways that we honored him at his funeral was by retelling his corny jokes and stories and making everyone belly laugh again. Love you.

  66. Listen, your granny sounds like she was one in a long line of women in your family with a fantastic, warped sense of humor. No doubt she is delighted by this small chaos she reeked.
    Love you all. ❤️

  67. I think Granny is laughing herself silly right now. Sending all love to you and your family, especially your mom.

  68. I’m sorry dhe passed but I’m glad she did it in a way that sounded so particularly her. I’m sorry you can’t be there with your family. I understand that all too well. May next year be the most wonderful memorial and be far more fun than this year.

  69. This story is absolute perfection. To be able to laugh and cry, mourn and be joyful on the day someone you love dies, it literally doesn’t get any better than that. My condolences. I hope you are able to hug your family soon.

  70. What’s in a name? My granddaughter’s middle name is Joy. She’s only 5 and is already displaying the love of life and laughter that seems to be the guiding light of your Granny.

  71. I just cried and laughed, and laughed and cried. I’m sorry for your rollercoaster, and I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad you were gifted with humor on a greatly terrible day. You and your family have all of my love. Hugs!

  72. I’m sorry about your grandmother, but my family has a similar story. It involves an aunt who was lost in the mail, and we still chuckle about it 20 years later. It was the best, last gift she could have ever given us.

  73. This story is EVERYTHING. I am so glad Gran left her mark on her day. I hope you and your family can be together soon! Much love!

  74. Oh my lord. I don’t know how you managed to handle all of that. I’m trying to find the funny, but covid is screwing everything up. Here’s to your granny. 🙂

  75. Love this story! My mother sounds a lot like your granny. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she went and bought an urn—on Amazon. Because, of course, “They’re so much cheaper and they just rip you off at the funeral home.” Cut to 8 months later, my mom had passed, and my dad, brother and I are sitting in the funeral home with hysterical tears/laughter while the apologetic funeral director gently lets us know that the urn we brought was a…wait for it…PET urn and was too small to hold all of an adult human’s ashes. I could hear my mom laughing at us, and I still swear she did it on purpose.

    In related news, I’ve got a pet urn for sale if anyone is interested.

  76. Okay, so you know how people add the phrase “in bed” to the end of their Chinese cookie fortunes?

    Your family needs to add, “like Granny.”

    See how that plays out. Report back.

  77. I love that Granny had the last word – maybe more than once? There is a Heaven. Of this I’m 90% sure…? Have a great time there Granny and keep watch over that fantastic family you’ve left on earth. xo

  78. I’m so sorry for your loss but what a story and I’m glad your family found the humour in it all.

    Our family had a similar incident with an aunt passing where we thought she had died but then came back to life only to die again. We’re known for having duplicate events happen on the same day and we figured the first time my aunt died was the same day her daughter did. She probably got to heaven, saw her daughter and got told “nope get your own day” she came back to life and died just after midnight the next day. I howled with laughter when I heard this as it was just like my aunt and cousin to do something like that.

  79. I lost my Mum back in February. I know it might sound awful but I am glad she didn’t have to live through this year. She was in a home and we wouldn’t have understood what was happening. I have had many happy conversation about her and her quirks. Two of them were 1) broken cookies had no calories and 2)you couldn’t have the same meet twice in a row. Meal planning for my parents was so stressful!!
    We sat with her after she passed and we had spent the two previous days in the hospital with her so I was there for her. We loved her dearly and she accepted my partner no questions asked. My father never met her but he was sure she was an axe murderer.

  80. This is the best death story! Your Granny is amazing! I simply love everything about this, even though it meant such a lovely woman has passed from this earth. These crazy times make for even crazier emotions and dark, dreary mental health. But this story is full of hilarity and love. Thank you for telling it. You and your family are wondeful.

  81. This could only happen in your family. Sorry for your loss(es) but I believe your granny planned this to get you all through the pain ❤️

  82. Your grandma sounds amazing and I don’t doubt somewhere beyond she is laughing her ass off. I’m sorry for your loss. It is never easy but I’m glad you were able to remember the love and laughter

  83. Speaking on behalf of another Joy — Andrea Joy here — thank you for sharing such a wonderful, wistful story of life. ❤

  84. This is amazing.

    On the last day of my FIL’s life, I got to the house and everyone said, “We think he was waiting until you got here so he could let go while all of us are here together.” But he didn’t die. My niece showed up, and we said, “He was waiting to sense her presence one last time.” But he didn’t die. The priest showed up for last rites; “he was waiting for that,” didn’t die. Other family members: “he was waiting,” didn’t die. On and on all day, until we were punch-drunk with laughter — what was he waiting for??? He finally died after I left to get home to my kids. So that’s what he was waiting for. FOR ME TO LEAVE. I’ll never live it down.

  85. As always you have such a brilliant way with telling a story and really getting to the heart of things – literally and figuratively. I am sorry that your granny passed, but do also know why you would describe it as a relief – my nan is old, frail, and has dementia, and it will be a blessing in many ways when she passes. Your granny sounds like she lived an amazing life, found joy wherever possible, and was a strong woman. Hugs to you all.

  86. WOW! Only in tte time of Covid, right?! Glad y’all had some humor in there with the tears. My mom also wanted to see her parents before she died; kept saying if she could get them to drive up for her, she was moving back to Florida. Never mind they died over 30 years ago. 😄💜🖖🏼

  87. Thank you so much for sharing this with us–what a wonderful story. It really made my day, and I’m so sorry for your loss of a wonderful grandmother who made you laugh. I lost my father this year the same way (Covid/dementia) and it was very bittersweet. Much love to you and your family.

  88. Knock Knock Motherfucker. It’s Zombie Granny!

    Sorry for your loss Jenny….she sounds fantastic. And I’ll bet she is laughing at all of this right now!

  89. Thanks Jenny. That was beautiful, lighthearted, and also just a touch sombre. I think your Granny would have loved it, and may her soul rest ever in joy and delight.

  90. I have no words for how much I love this story and feel healed by it. <3 Thank you, Jenny. Rest in ornery, sassy power, Granny Joy.

  91. Jenny- I am so very sorry for your loss. I am also relieved for your granny. She was the sweetest lady.💖

  92. It’s amazing how a joke at the right time can make things okay. My dad called on the first Friday in April about 7pm and said my grandfather was going into hospice care. My aunts were able to go be with my grandmother (they’d been married 72 years) but the rest of us just had to sit out of state and wait because Covid. My husband tried to make me feel better by saying that sometimes hospice lasted a while, but I got the call the next morning about 9 AM saying that he died. And as I was sitting there sobbing, hubby said quietly “I’m not surprised.” And I was like…dude, wtf? And he said “Your grandfather was never one to stick around when it was time to go.” I have never laughed so hard in my life because it was timely and true. He’d come to visit and needed to be on the road home by 9am the day they left. (No idea why, that was just the time he decided on) and he’d start to get ancy about 8:30, particularly if grandma was still at the breakfast table in her robe. And he’d stay ancy until they were in the car pulling out of the driveway.

    We’re going to do the same thing when it’s safe, have a celebration. My sister and I are going to dress up like we came out of Lawrence Welk, because he never ever missed that show.

    TLDR; I’m sorry you’re going through this and you have my condolences. But I’m glad you were able to have a family moment out of it. That’s definitely not one to forget.

  93. I’m sure if she could’ve planned it, this is exactly how she would’ve wanted to go. She gave you a great story to help remember her with love and laughter. <3

  94. She knew that you needed this, knew that in your sadness that you needed this hilariously funny last story of her that will live on in your family for many generations to come.
    And bless the poor hospice worker that had to make that call not knowing the kind and loving response she would receive. IMO, each and every one of them gets a golden ticket straight to heaven for the work they do.

  95. I love this story and the humor and heart it encapsulates. I remember months after my mom passed away, I got a call from my brother, “Hey, I got Mom in the mail.” (She had donated her body to the hospital where she was treated for brain cancer, then cremated.) Most of my mind went blank, but one slice still was able to process what he said and think of the most important thing to ask, “Did you have to sign for her?”

  96. What an amazing, delightful, heartwarming, laughter-through-tears and totally *you* story. Thank you for sharing it with us, and safe passage to the best zombie granny ever.

  97. Still sorry for your family’s loss. Or sorry again? Both.

    I love you, Jenny. Thank you for sharing this story. <3

  98. THAT HAPPENED TO US TOO! Got a call that my MOL passed but then a couple hours got another call “Dude, she ain’t dead.”

  99. Black humor is the ONLY way to get through the hard stuff. My husband had me laughing so hard through my tears the month that my (incredibly beloved and gone too soon) father died. I think it’s the only reason I made it through.

    But boy, I wish your Granny had made it through one more day. I want a tombstone out in the world with two death dates on it.

  100. Welp. As ridiculously weird/funny/confusing as that whole thing was, I almost feel like it’s par for the course in your family. Like, of *course* something crazy had to happen on her ‘death day’, she’s a part of *your* family! (We say the same about my grandpa, who was so stubborn he waited until Easter of all days to die.) She is most definitely up in Heaven laughing at her final crazy story.

    Sending hugs and love to all of you.

  101. I love your granny and I never even met her. She sounds perfect! I am sorry for your loss and happy you have so many great stories, including this one, as a part of her legacy.

  102. I never had grandparents (they were all gone before I was old enough to know them) so I love stories like this. Hugs and love.

  103. OMG, Grandmas are the best. I suspect that she planned it all along.
    I miss both mine terribly, and there were some funny moments after they passed (only once!) that they would have appreciated too. Humor, dark humor certainly helps during those times.

  104. Your Grandma sounds amazing. I’m so sorry for your loss, but so glad you have so many great memories, and such a weird and memorable final day.

  105. I am so sorry for your loss – but I am glad Granny made it memorable with all the grief and joy one can experience. Stay strong, stay healthy.

  106. OMG, only you (and your family) Jenny…. that is hysterically funny/sad/funny/sad. Wow. What a freakin’ roller coaster! My thoughts (and laughter) are with you and all your family. And BTW: GREAT JOB, GRANNY!!!! Say Hi to Alex Trebek for us!

  107. I live in Reno. I will make sure that more than one glass will be raised here for her today. What a wonderful, Monty Python-ish tale.

    My condolences to all of Joy’s beloved.

  108. When my husband’s grandmother passed away, as we arrived at the cemetery there seemed to be a lot of wandering around and gesticulating from everyone. Turns out the cemetery had dug up the wrong grave. We laughed so hard because she would have loved that moment—and it saved us all from watching her coffin being lowered into the ground (her son stayed behind while they dig the actual grave while the rest of us had cookies and sandwiches back at the reception and laughed). We tell the story often but I just keep thinking how traumatic it would have been if the person whose grave they had accidentally dug up came to pay respects to someone nearby and was like “WTF? Am I a ghost?!”

  109. This is amazing. I love you and I’m sorry for your loss, no matter how complicated or confusing.

  110. I’m sorry to hear about your Granny. That was an awesome story, with all the right elements to it. Sending hugs and condolences while still laughing inside. . .

  111. I’m so sorry for your loss, but so glad you shared your story of Joy.

    My aunt Doris had a voice that could wake the dead. When my grandpa was in the hospital (ages and ages ago; he died in 1989), his roommate died. The nurse pulled a sheet over the roommate’s head and went to get a doctor to confirm the death.

    Then, Aunt Doris entered the room to visit her brother, my grandpa. “Hello, John!” she boomed, at which point, the dead roommate awoke, said hello, and asked to borrow Grandpa’s magazine. Grandpa gave it to him. Then, the man promptly died again. He was holding the magazine, and of course the sheet was no longer over his head, when the nurse returned with the doctor who pronounced him well and truly dead.

    The nurse probably thought Grandpa and Aunt Doris had messed with the dead body, but no, it was Aunt Doris’s booming voice that was to blame.

  112. What an amazing granny! It’s good to have family you can laugh and cry with and who just get you. IT WAS JUST A DRESS REHEARSAL would make a pretty good epitaph.

  113. Wow. Seems like your Granny wanted one last laugh and a moment to create a new story! Glad you and your family can find humor in remembering good times during grief.
    Also, I think it’s ok to be sad and ok to laugh and enjoy good memories of loved ones.

    Also, also, my family reuses names too. Many cousins have first or middle name of a grandparent. One name is Rose. Great grandma Rosalie, Grandma Leorose, grandchild Kim-Rose and great granddaughters Bri-Rose and Anna-Rose. I got my aunt’s, and great aunt’s and great cousin’s name Marie for a middle name. Touching to know how quirky or caring a family is by our good stories.

  114. I feel for you Jenny, i was my Great Aunts most frequent visitor for the last 5 years of her life as she went through dementia. It not easy for them, or those they love. I was given a privileged position, as as dementia progresses, they tend to narrow nto only their recolelctions, but trust of those aorudn them…theres plenty of conspiracy theories i heard over thsoe years abotu staff and other members of my family. Early on you can generally steer them back to reality, but as tiem goes by it becomes harder, and then theres the day yuo give up trying, and for me it just happened to be the most wonderful one that i decided to call quits on trying to steer her back to reality on…id come to see her, and as soon as i walked in the door…

    GA: “Im so glad youre here today, ive only just gotten back”
    Me: “What do you mean, where have you been?”
    GA: “Oh i was on holiday in Japan”

    Now my Great aunt had travelled a lot in her 20’s-40’s, but i knew she had never been to Japan. So i gave up trying to steer her, and ruin whatever wonderful place she had found herself, so instead i asked her what her trip was like. For the next 40 minutes she told me of wondrous things and people, and she was happy. I was glad i let her have that.

    She went on to make it to 100, just a few weeks past the milestone. But sadly by that time she had spent the last 6 months of her life calling out help, and being otherwise unresponsive.

    I count the years i spent visiting her and learning about what it was like here in Sydney when she was a kid, delivering milk by horse and cart (forming her lasting love with horses, and racing – she was a master of betting!), long before the Harbour Bridge, both wrodl wars, and of her adventures through life. As part of my visiting her, i became aware that i was also interacting with the other residents of the nursing home. I have aspergers and as such dont really engage all that much with people i dont know, and geenrally dont have friends younger than myself, but found myself feeling less anxious. So i started volunteering an a couple of nursing homes, which has added much to my life, and hopefully those i volunteer for.

    My Great Aunt was one of a kind, a living history lesson and a total character! I still miss her nearly 10 years on. Im looking forward to COVID lockdowns ending so i can go back to volunteering, it keeps her alive to me…

  115. I’m not sure if these are tears of laughter or tears of sadness. However, I am 100% sure I just love you and your wonderful family. Peace to you all.

  116. May i just say as a healthcare worker what a gift your mother gave to them by being gracious.in what was surely horrifyingly situation. Everyone is doing. The best they can in horrible times. I would have liked your grandmother

  117. I LOVE this story. My mom died suddenly 4 weeks ago at the age of 88. She had stage-4 cancer, but it didn’t cause her death. Two days before she passed, she had driven her red convertible PT Cruiser Turbo to get a haircut — the first time she’d been out of the house since the COVID lockdown. She was so excited to be out and about, and to have a great pixie haircut. She went out happy and looking good, without ever being afflicted by two things she feared most: being bedridden and having severe cancer pain. We sent her on her way with so many things she loved, including a handful of Xanax in her pocket because it helped her deal.

  118. What a story! I love it. BTW, my niece’s name is Lisa Joy and her daughter is Gabi. They live in Dallas.

  119. Jenny, your family is wonderful. Those healthcare workers were horrified at giving you the wrong information, but it was such an incredible gift to have the dress rehearsal and the absolute legend of that story. I’m glad your mother was kind to them. I am so sorry for your loss, and so grateful that your family has each other, even if it has to be from a distance.

    When I read your last post, I knew I had a phone call to make, because I am also Jenny and my grandma is also Granny and I also haven’t been able to see her in almost a year. She is healthy, but sad and lonely because she is isolating and her cat died, the last thing my grandpa brought home before he died. She needed a good long chat, and she got it because you gave me a sign. Thank you.

  120. Though I’m sorry for your loss. I love this story! It reminds me of when my Mimi (maternal grandmother who refused any version of the name grandmother) was very ill with lung cancer. She was in the hospital in critical condition and we were convinced she was passing. The doctor was in her room quietly preparing everyone. My Dad and Aunt were beginning the discussion of funeral arrangements, and everyone else was crying. Just as the doctor finished, Mimi opened her eyes, tried to sit up (failed), and VERY clearly said, “QUIT PLANNING MY FUCKING FUNERAL! I’M NOT DEAD YET!” I seriously thought the doctor was going to have a heart attack. She lived another 2 years (I believe, just to spite everyone.) Boy, do I miss her spunk! Sending peace to you and all who loved your sweet granny.

  121. I wish I’d known your granny.
    My favorite funeral story happened several years back. One of the attendees became ill and they had to call an ambulance. To the cemetery. I would like to overhear that conversation. “And what’s the address there??”
    I still giggle…

  122. This is the second best thing I read all year this year. (Joe Biden won is the first, so tough act to follow.) This sounds so much like a conversation that my brother and I would have that it gave me chills. May she fly high and free of the constraints of her earthly body.

  123. My Father In Law did this he died for several minutes it was called by the doc. Then he changed his mind, came back and then left a month later. He was not interested in dying in the hospital but his own bed at home. Thank you for this lovely post about your Grandma she sounded amazing (like her granddaughter). Oh, and how gorgeous was she in her pictures! Hugs to you and your family.

  124. Oh, Jenny. What a roller coaster… And somehow exactly on brand. So much love and many hugs to you and your family– and for sweet Granny Joy, Peace be the journey. 💜💜

  125. I work in a hospital and we got a patient in with quite a history. Paramedics found her collapsed on the floor of her kitchen, where she’d been for hours at least, pulseless. They called her time of death, took her directly to the mortuary, where the workers nearly peed themselves when she began to move. They called the ambulance BACK and said “uhhhh hey you need to come pick up this woman — she’s alive.” They brought her in, we took care of her and her family got to see her. It was a wild ride 😅 I’m so sorry for your loss, but everyone wants to go out with a story and your granny got a great one.

  126. My grandpa passed this past May and he also had a “last laugh” situation. We all thought the last laugh was being buried in his overalls, which he wanted but grandma would’ve had a cow over, but little did we know what his real last laugh would be! When my mom and her sister went to the burial (only one car was allowed because of the pandemic), they ended up waiting at the cemetery for a while and grandpa hadn’t shown up. When he finally did get there, he was in the funeral home’s minivan rather than the hearse! Apparently the hearse had broken down that morning and they couldn’t start it. We all had a good laugh about what grandma was going to say when grandpa showed up to Heaven late and in his overalls!

  127. Oh, Jenny, this is one of my favorite of all the stories you have ever told.
    When my beloved Mom died, I kept dreaming that it had all been a mistake somehow and she was back, and my Dad as well, and we were all laughing about the mistake.

    You got to actually do my dream. 🙂 I love it.

    And I love you and your family.
    Thanks so much for being willing to share it all with us!

  128. First, ZOMBIE grandmas are awesome!! Second, I am so so sorry for your loss! This story was amazing to read, and brought a smile to my face as well as a face palm.

  129. My condolences, Jenny – and thank you. I haven’t smiled this much in ages. I bet Joy is smiling, too.

  130. My condolences on the passing of your grandmother. The story must make things very bittersweet.

    When my dad died, they had to send the body 200 miles west to El Paso for cremation. When that was done, they put him in a USPS priority mail box to ship him to his mother in Kansas City…only the box didn’t appear for quite awhile. We learned that you can, in fact, be late for your own funeral (we had it without him). My mother and I still laugh about this. We have no idea where he went for a couple of weeks, but he did love to travel and I hope it was a great trip.

  131. One of my great-grandmothers didn’t get to be a zombie, but she did pull off quite the accomplishment of getting pneumonia at 95 and the entire family converged and did the whole deathbed thing. Then she lived, and made a good recovery, and lived to be 102.

    I’m sorry your grandma is gone but she was awesome.

  132. I am sorry for your loss. I just lost my grandfather who we jokingly referred to as the Energizer Bunny; he kept going, and going. Nothing stopped him before. It’s heartbreaking and yet relief that he won’t suffer through another something. I totally understand and enjoyed reading about Zombie Granny.

  133. I just recently lost my dad, so this is exactly the kind of dark humor I need right now! Thank you so much for sharing this! You have my condolences for your loss and my congratulations for having such an awesome family.

  134. Sounds like she was feisty right to the end, and then some more. When you feel the pinch of her absence you need only remember her exit story. Priceless. Wrap yourself in memories and take care.

  135. Oh. My. God.

    Zombie Granny.

    I’m cry-laughing while I sit here waiting for my car to get an oil change done. These people think that I’m nuts, and it’s making me laugh even harder!

  136. We charged a quarter to anyone coming in to my Grampa’s wake because that’s how he would have wanted it (two-bits to gawk, ya heathens!) God bless families that can laugh at these beautiful, ridiculous, ludicrous lives we lead.

  137. I’m so sorry for the loss of Zombie Grandma but I love your family and their sense of humor. We got the call that my grandma wasn’t expected to make it a few years ago. We frantically made it 1,000 miles to her bedside and she miraculously recovered. Probably on purpose. We went to the store to buy flowers and came back with a “welcome back” balloon. Mom wasn’t amused. Grandma thought it was awesome.

  138. I just keep picturing the Bring Out Your Dead scene from Minty Python and the Holy Grail. “I’m not dead yet! I’m gettin’ better!” That’s the best granny story. She sounds like a pistol. I’m sorry she’s gone, but I know it’s hard when they have dementia, too. My sister-in-law’s mom died 4 days after her 100th birthday earlier this year. She’d been in the nursing home for about a year because the dementia finally got too bad for her to be alone. They didn’t say it was Covid-19, but there were cases in the home. She was also hard of hearing and the masks & lack of visitors made her even more isolated than usual, so she may just have given up. Anyway, I hope you can have a beautiful memorial next year.

  139. What a beautiful, beautiful story. I can’t imagine how apologetic the hospice worker was, originally. And, then your mom taking care of all of the details, canceling all of the details, taking care of them again. So much love to you and your family.

  140. So not surprised by this story. If it would happen to anyone, it’d be you. Sorry for your loss. Granny sounds like she was an amazing person!

  141. Best. Story. Ever. And I am truly sorry for the loss of Granny. And a bit envious you had her as long as you did. May you cry many happy tears each time you recount this story.

  142. How appropriate for your family and you. I cried a little bit and also laughed! Still sorry you’re granny isn’t with us any longer.

  143. My family has a similar “inappropriate” sense of humor to yours and I am so grateful for it. The jokes we made when cleaning out my dad’s house the week after he died suddenly would have horrified so many people. Since it was near Christmas we associated clearing out the stuff in his house to the twelve days of Christmas. At the end of it we had:

    31 flashlights (I think these were to hold elaborate light shows in the neighborhood, my brother assumes they were a gift with purchase)
    8 tubes of hair gel
    7 tubes of toothpaste
    5 George Forman grills (different sizes)
    4 omelette makers
    3 toilet repair kits
    2 how to be a great lover VHS tapes (my brother was horrified when I found these and showed him, but if I can’t unsee it, neither can he)
    1 55 gallon drum of hydrogen peroxide

    Nearly everyone who knew my dad referred to him as a character and that was the perfect description of how he could be so fun, but also make you totally uncomfortable with his rants about the government. I laugh even more now at all the stuff we found clearing out his house and his unique perspective on life. He and I had opposite political beliefs as well and the stress of getting his mail forwarded to me made me angry every day until I decided to give a donation to a charity those organizations despised and tell them about it along with a request to remove his address from their mailing lists.

    Reframing hard tasks and laughing about how ridiculous it all is makes the loss a little easier. It helps even more when the person who passed would have loved the jokes told.

  144. I’m so sorry for your and your family’s loss. She sounds like one hell of a woman and I love that you have yet one more story that brings y’all together and makes you laugh. It sounds like the perfect tribute to her memory. Sending love and hugs

  145. Jenny I am sorry for you and your family’s loss. This is a wonderful story and thank you for sharing it. May your Granny forever watch over you and yours!

  146. Whoa. I am so sorry for your loss(es). Your family is so lucky to have had her and to be able to laugh through and with tears.

  147. What a story! What a life! Peace and life’s blessings to you and your family. Happy family reunions in the heavens for your granny.

  148. This is lovely. I lost my grandma last month. She was 91, her husband died in 2001, they had already been married for 54 years and she managed another 19 after that. But we know she was ready to go. She’d been saying so for a few years and it got much worse once COVID hit and there was no chance of visits. Those feelings are incredibly complicated. And, as we are also waiting on a service until it’s safe, there’s not much of a sense of closure either.

    My love to you and your family. Enjoy your memories.

  149. I hope your grandma is at peace wherever she is. But this is one of those stories that reaffirmed our humanity and our capacity for joys, you know? It matters that there are bad days, but there are also people around you that make those days not so awful. Life can be a dark comedy but we do have to find joy wherever we can. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  150. This is such a Jenny story. I see you come by it naturally. Godspeed to her, love to you and your family.

  151. And now I’m laughing and crying for you. If there really is a heaven, she is probably telling this story over on every cloud! Man, what a ride!!!

  152. This reminds me so much of my grandmother’s funeral. Her favorite word was “Joy.” She signed off calls and cards with “Joy to you.” Her favorite hymn was “Ode to Joy.” We sobbed through it at her funeral. When we got home, and it was just close family (all 20 of us) we finished off her all her booze and played “Ode to Joy” on kazoos, this time crying with laughter.

    I hope your grandmother finds mine. They’d have a blast!

  153. This reminds me so much of my grandmother’s funeral. Her favorite word was “Joy.” She signed off calls and cards with “Joy to you.” Her favorite hymn was “Ode to Joy.” We sobbed through it at her funeral. When we got home, and it was just close family (all 20 of us) we finished off her all her booze and played “Ode to Joy” on kazoos, this time crying with laughter.

    I hope your grandmother finds mine. They’d have a blast!

  154. I love this story. You need to put a longer version of it in your next book. God grant your family peace. He’s already given you joy in many ways. Thanks for sharing this. I laughed and I’m a bit teared up too. Hang in there Jenny. We’ll all get through this whole mess.

  155. I’m so sorry for your loss, but that is a great way to go … and then not go … and then go again! You had me laughing and crying too, because that’s exactly the kind of thing I expect from my mom when her time comes. She’s 87 and I worry about losing her all the time, but she has such a great sense of humor I wouldn’t put it past her to pull some shenanigans.

  156. What a great and memorable story. As I read it I told my husband I needed to respond. My grandma had her own big exit a handful of years ago.

    She had Alzheimer’s and was sent home with hospice. Several things happened that were straight out of a sitcom.

    1. The funeral home came to pick her up. Hospice worker warned them there were a lot of steps and to bring extra hands. They said they were fine. Got to the house and saw how many steps and asked a neighbor for help who quickly came up with an excuse and scurried away.

    2. Cemetery manager called later that morning and all my aunt and I can hear is my mom’s side of the conversation: “What do you mean someone’s there already? [pause] You mean to tell me all these years I’ve been putting flowers on my dad’s grave and he was right next door?!” Yep. They went to dig grandma’s plot and my grandpap was already there instead of the marked plot right next to hers.

    3. Mom calls the life insurance company but the rep will only talk to the policy holder. My mom keeps yelling into the phone “She’s dead!” trying to get the person to cooperate. I suggested she see if they have a Ouija board or a medium on staff.

    4. The day of her funeral the cars were lined up for the procession. Pallbearers brought grandma out and loaded her into the hearse. And we waited. And waited. Staff gets out and talks amongst themselves. One goes digging in the trunk of another car and I ask my family “Is the battery dead?” They assured me it wasn’t possible. Sure enough moments later they pull the other car around and pop hoods. The battery was dead in the hearse. We all start laughing hysterically. My cousin hops out of her car and runs up to us crying “Only your mother!” People are getting out to watch and laughing.

    We found out the following year at my great aunt’s funeral that the funeral home now has a standing policy to go start the hearse before people exit.

    That’s my grandma’s legacy.

  157. I read this out loud to my husband and we both laughed and cried with you. So. Much. Love. For you. 💖 And , of course, here’s to Joy in all her forms 💕

  158. Thank God if that poor hospice worker ever had to make this mistake it was with your family who would treat her with kindness because hospice workers are such angels and she had to be completely horrified and expecting the absolute worst when she called your mom back. But she was your mom instead. Your family are gems. I’m not sure I believe in an afterlife, but I do really want to for people like your granny, so I hope she’s getting a good cackle out of this somewhere.

  159. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to laugh or cry, so I did both. Your granny sounds amazing. Sending love to you.

  160. “well they embalmed her last night, so she’s going to be grumpy if she’s alive” is a spit-take comment if ever I’ve read one! I’m sorry for your loss and that you can’t all hug each other at the moment, but I’m so glad you all had a good laugh about it all. My grandma was kind of similar and we had a laugh at her farewell when one of the wheels of the trolley holding her casket fell off – turns out someone had swapped out the funeral directors trolley and left him with the broken one and, well….it was just typical of the sort of thing our family finds funny (at least the casket didn’t fall off or anything – that might have been a bit too much). Gram had dementia too – Mum was her only child and Gram didn’t know who she was near the end – so when she passed (on her wedding anniversary), we said she was off to join Grandpa and have a big party to celebrate their reunion.

  161. OMG, JENNY! How does shit like this happen to you so often? More of this big, wonderful, beautiful, tragic, hilarious, heartbreaking, confusing mess we call life. I love you, Jenny. Your ability to find humor and connection in tragedy and isolation should be the enduring record of the 2019/2020/2021 plague years.

  162. What an awesome way to go!! And what a wonderful Family she had and you have. I do think there’s a heaven and I’ll bet she is laughing herself silly right now up there with her other loved ones, loving every minute of watching y’all celebrate Joy!! ❤️❤️❤️ Thanks so much for sharing! Sending hugs though for your loss, amid the laughter and tears. ❤️

  163. Best memory ever and while I don’t know her I know what you mean when you say and it’s exactly how she would have wanted it. Happy to hear she got it her way at the end, it’s all we can hope for.

  164. I too have/had a mom named Nelda. That’s a special club to be in. She was a blackjack dealer in Reno for awhile after she left her first husband, and based on the picture you posted, I think my mom and your grandma are about the same age. So I’ve decided they were there at the same time and were great friends. I am so sorry she’s gone and I hope she’s having a wonderful time on her next adventure.

  165. I am both sorry for the loss of your Granny and happy for your family that she accidentally created a new family legend for the ages.

  166. My brother offended EVERYONE in the room when we were at my grandmother’s visitation by telling a story about how every Christmas, we all got underwear from her. Now my brother’s was always like..normal sized. But she always bought my mom, my sister and I underwear that was so large you could use it for a parachute. I have NO idea why. But my brother, in his story telling, said, “Y’all want some panties?” in Mamaw’s thick Tennesse accent and had us absolutely just rolling while other guests were like, “Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves.” Mamaw would have absolutely died (had she not already been dead) laughing at his imitation of her.

  167. Much love to your family — and it couldn’t have gone any other way. I love the way your Granny made y’all laugh right until the very end!

  168. Thank you so much for this. Some of us are surround by death and heart-ache that this just helped so much! Also sorry about Granny. She sounds amazing.

  169. I have a living grandmother who is 106 and I kind of pray for her to get COVID because she has been ready to die for 80 years. I am actually in the process of writing a book about it because now it is just hilarious how long she is living and how much she is ready (gotta laugh or you’ll cry). Your story is 100% my grandmother too! I would not be surprised if that happened! Thanks for sharing! You’re a lovely story teller!

  170. Zombie Grannys!!!! Oh to be able to laugh and cry and tell stories on one’s grandma is the best. I am sorry for your loss but your granny went out in STYLE.

  171. This story just made my day. You will miss your granny. But she went out as memorably as she lived. Your writing is wonderfully hilarious, as is your family.

  172. Our granny behaved with enormous decorum until she passed. And then she hopped in the wrong hearse and took one last joyride -leaving her horrified progeny to scour the city, trying to track down our errant ancestor. We all agreed that it made perfect sense that this most amazing and adoring lady would take just one more lap before she left us. Go Granny Go!

  173. My husband’s Gramps had a wicked, dirty sense of humor (being a lifetime Navy man). He died a few years ago, so we were able to be with him, but my bil and I were talking about how much he would have hated the crying over him in the ICU – until we saw the name of his doctor on the whiteboard – Bohner. We thought surely it had to be pronounced different, but spent probably an hour quietly going over the possibilities of his first name – Richard being our top pick, as Gramps would have liked. He walked in and introduced himself ( yes, pronounced boner). And then told us not to worry about the doctor part, just to call him Harry.
    Harry. Bohner.

    We barely kept it together until he left, then joyful squeals erupted in the ICU – which is exactly how Gramps would have wanted it.

  174. Got to be the BEST EVER covid-zombie-granny story! You go, Granny! Give ’em hell up there… or down there… or where ever it is that zombie grannies go.

  175. My lovely Aunt (Dad’s sister, one of six) died a few weeks ago after a long battle with cancer, and 1. Mum told me accidentally on WhatsApp and 2. When I called my Dad he said ‘She was the best of us. Why couldn’t it have been one of the other bastards instead?’ 😂😂😂

  176. This reminds me of how at my mom’s funeral there was a mixup at the crematorium and her ashes didn’t make it on time. My aunt was sitting there and started chuckling and told us how their dad was always yelling at them when they were late and loved to insult them with “you’ll be late to your own funeral!” It was her final F-you to him, and he completely deserved it!

  177. I am so sorry for your loss, but the laughter is a great reminder of who the person was. My husband died very suddenly and unexpectedly 5 months ago. He loved traveling and credit cards and airline points, so I paid for his cremation with the credit card that got the most points. We all were laughing about his upcoming “trip” at the funeral home.

  178. Jenny, what a story! This could only happen to you, you know. Thanks for sharing it with us. She sounds like quite a character, and I know you’ll miss her, but she kind of guaranteed that any memory of her final death will bring a chuckle, like leaving bits of Joy scattered around for you to find later. Hugs.

  179. Reading your story about your grandma and her crossing over reminded me of a quote from Selma Diamond on Night Court, “I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.” From personal experience, it is healing to mix humor with grief when a loved one passes.

  180. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry and instead I am making all sorts of weird snuffling noises and tears.
    She’s up there with Terry Pratchett and he’s congratulating her for her style.
    Hugs to you all.

  181. I loved your grandparents very much, and seeing their picture today has brought “joy” to me! Thanks for posting it.

  182. “I wish I could back in time to tell her that she’d created one that will live on forever in our family.” It will love on forever in our family and your extended family.

    I can only hope that something around my death will bring as much fun to the world. Perhaps you’ll have to write my obituary in order for that to happen.

  183. My mother’s mother, Frances, was not a bake-you-cookies grandmother. She was a repour-your-front-step-concrete grandmother. When I got my first apartment she gave me a stocked tool box as a housewarming gift. When she died we were discussing how to bury her cremains. I suggested a tool box. We all laughed until we cried, then agreed that was the best choice. Mom and I went to Grandmother’s favorite store, K-Mart, and stood in the tool aisle discussing our choices. I liked the blue one because it was prettier. Mom liked the yellow one with more compartments because it was a better toolbox. As we went back and forth, I realized a man in the aisle was listening to our conversation. We waited until he finally left, and again laughed until we cried! I LOVE your story. Even in death, she was memorable!

  184. That was the best covid story EVer! I was sad, and then I was happy. Now I’m happy-sad for you and your amazing granny. I have to go bake something to sort out my feelings.

  185. This story made me laugh and cry.

    May your granny be happily laughing in heaven (or wherever the great ones go).

  186. Jenny,

    What a testament to the power of life, of lobe, and of having a family that’s crazy in all the right ways. I grieve with you for your loss and rejoice (re-Joy-ce?) with you for the hilarious affection that surrounds you.

    Ruth

  187. I had something similar happen to me with my BIL. My mother (who has dementia) called me to tell me that my BIL had died. I was at work. I was so sad. I tried to call my sister, no luck. I tried to call my nephew. He texted that he was at work and what did I want. OK, why is my nephew at work when his dad has just died? Finally got through to my sister. Nope, BIL still alive, and I talked to him. A couple hours later I got a call from my Uncle Lyle saying how sad he was to hear that my BIL had died. I asked who told him that. “Your mother”, he replied. Ugh. Had to tell my uncle that my sister or I would contact him when BIL did pass away. Had to call our pastor to let her know to not take seriously any calls from my mother that my BIL had died. That bastard cancer finally did take my BIL 10 days later.

  188. I’m sorry for the ginormous loss for your family. I’m so glad for the Joy.
    When my grandpa died, my mom was sitting in his hospital room soon after and a nurse walked in and said “oh, he’s breathing easier!” Yup, waaaaay easier 😂. She felt really awful, but my mom and I are both nurses and it became much needed comic relief.
    May Joy continue to lift up your family as your grieve 💗

  189. I’m sorry for your loss. We had a similar situation with my mom. Apparently the third time was the charm as she did die and came back two other times. Wish you could have been with her.

  190. This is a wild, sad, funny and truly fascinating story… I am sorry for your loss and that ya’ll can’t be together during this time, but I am glad that granny gave you something to laugh about.

  191. We had a tiny little mountain horned lizard named Gwenny, and she would hang motionless for DAYS when she got old, to the point where we thought she was dead MANY times, but they were all practice runs, until one day when it wasn’t. Took probably a whole year or more after she started these practice runs, for her to actually decide to pass. Felt very much like it was completely on her own terms. Now I have a bearded dragon who is 13 (aka extremely old) and he does THE SAME THING and so now we joke about checking him and being nonchalant about “hey Baby’s still alive by the way”. Someday when he goes I’ll scatter his ashes in Arizona because he owns that state from when we drove though with him on the dashboard 7-8 years ago. He claimed THE WHOLE STATE.

    So anyways, here to advise you that your granny MIGHT have been a lizard, which is a compliment because I love lizards. So sorry your granny is gone, but so glad she could plan this out so majestically!

  192. I need to add this to my obits (one is mostly honest and one is just a pack of lies). Your granny is awesome. Now I get to die at least twice.

  193. I LOVE this story. My grandma was so stubborn, she’s probably hanging out with your granny plotting their revenge.

    A side note: I just ordered a book and had a moment of spaciness and said I’d stop by your store in Austin, which of course is wrong. Sorry about that.

  194. Only you could make the death of your Granny a laugh/cry fest for me. So sorry that she’s gone but happy she gave rise to you!

  195. So sorry for your loss, but thank you for sharing the fantastic stories of your wonderful granny. xx

  196. This is absolutely the best thing I’ve ever read! With everything going on currently around the world and personally, this brought so much “joy” to me. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

  197. Yay for zombie granny! Right up there with zombie Jesus, swapping war stories. I love you and your family. Although I’m from the Netherlands, you all feel very familiar in the ‘kind and quirky department’.

  198. This takes ’May her memory be a blessing’ to a whole new level. I’m sorry for your loss, but appreciative that she managed to leave you with one last unforgettable story that will live on through generations just like her name. Thank you for sharing her with us <3

  199. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Twice.

    Two sorries? Two loses? Loss squared? I don’t know anymore.

    I’m so glad that this sad moment created a great memory. Sometimes that’s just what it calls for.

  200. I’m so sorry that your family has, again, had to deal with COVID and that you lost your grandmother. That being said, your granny is now a legend! I have been planning my funeral for years now (not anytime soon) and I will be adding some way that I can also have two death dates and a great story for them to that plan!
    When my father died, he stole some of my thunder by literally being late to his own funeral (totally my plan). My mother forgot his remains in my brother’s vehicle and we didn’t notice until 15 minutes into the service. Publicly announced it and very obviously went to get him and bring him in and placed him on the stage.
    Please be well and safe and know that you and your family are loved by many.

  201. This should be turned into a book and then a movie. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I’m doing a bit of each.

  202. So much Joy (and joy) in your story. I’m sorry for your loss but so glad she was part of your life.

  203. Your story makes me laugh and cry and have all the feels. I lost my grandmother at the beginning of the year and have to admit that I’m somewhat relieved that she didn’t have to go through this year and the Covid stuff. My heart goes out to you.
    And, your story makes me think of my cousin’s funeral. It had always been joked that she would be late to her own funeral. After the service at the funeral home, we took the LONG drive out to the country to the family cemetery. There was a wreck and the procession had to be re-routed. While most of the vehicles could take a short route, the hearse couldn’t. She was actually late to her own funeral. We laugh about it to this day and know that she loves it that way.

  204. What a loss for your family, but Granny Joy sure provided a hell of a memory for her family.
    Thanks for sharing some memories and laughter.

  205. I can’t think of a better way to exit this life, or a better story to be able to tell. This reminds me to always look for the joy, no matter how f-ing hard it is to do so. (The part where you describe your decision not to attend the burial because not being able to hug your mom, though? Brought me to tears. I can understand.) Love your writing – thank you for sharing.

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