My grandmother died on Monday. Every day since then I've tried to write something, but I'm just not sure what to say. Today was her funeral and I was so busy chasing after Katie and Charlotte, I feel in some ways like I wasn't even there. Like only now, in the 'calm after the storm', am I able to really start saying goodbye.
She was 92. She lived a long life, and her quality of life towards the end was not great. I think she didn't really know who I was for at least a few months now, though she always remembered my babies. She loved my girls, and told them so over and over whenever she saw them... "I love you! I love you!" in her weak little old lady voice.
And so, it is sad but in a way, as my mom kept saying, it was a blessing. Still, no matter what the circumstances you mourn the loss of someone you love.
I think I am also mourning the grandmother I lost long before she actually died. The one who slowly slipped away without us even realizing until one day she was gone. The person I grew up with, lived with, loved more than anyone and loved me so much that I always felt safe in the world just knowing she was there. Knowing no matter what happened I always had her to turn to if I needed her. She was the one person who truly made you feel her love was limitless and totally unconditional. Not that she was perfect - OH NO, no no....no... lol.... but her love for me seemed endless and being with her always felt safe.
I got many things from my grandmother, among them my love of foods such as instant mashed potatoes, huge bowls of Welsh Farms ice cream and hunks of Cracker Barrel cheese (thanks Grandma!). I never saw the woman eat a piece of fresh fruit or a vegetable that didn't come out of a can (except for fresh Jersey tomatoes, which she liked slathered in mayonnaise).
And my propensity towards spending money as fast as I get it. My grandmother didn't even let money reach her pocket to burn a hole in it, she got rid of it so fast. She loved to buy things for you, often things you neither wanted nor needed. She ridiculously OVERtipped everyone (she even tried tipping her bank teller). She never let you leave her house empty handed, and would find SOMETHING to make you take home with you - I literally left once with toilet paper, a TV Guide and two tomatoes. The first time I took my husband to her house he came home with a reacher (just what a 6' 2'' man needs).
I haven't thought in a long time about that grandmother...not the confused old woman who really wasn't sure who I was. But the vibrant, funny one who fed me junk every New Years Eve until I almost threw up, who danced with me on her back porch in our nightgowns to the Lawrence Welk Show, who every single morning got up, read her daily prayers, made a pot of coffee (percolated on the stove of course) and a very, very burned English muffin.
Some things though, never changed. She never stopped obsessing about everyone's weight but that's not a story for today.... lol. Until the very end of her life she loved The Price is Right, and ice cream, and her family. Everyone who came to the wake talked about how much she loved her family.
When I told PJ that she had died he said, well, she finally got to meet Jack then. I hope so. That's what I keep thinking - one more person to love my boy until I get there. And I know first hand she'll do a very very good job of making him feel loved, and safe, and happy.
Grandma (Alma) with me, and with Charlotte: