9 months ago I wrote a post about losing my Grandma Jean. It is with a sad heart that I write again.
My Grandma Marilyn was probably one of the strongest women I’ll ever know. In the last few years I have flown out to Idaho under the concern of her pending death and every other time she was determined to prove everyone wrong. One year ago to the week, we flew out there when we were told she had 24 hours. The next morning when the Dr. walked in she said, “I bet you didn’t expect to see me here.” That was the kind of fighter my Grandma was.
I think my Grandma had a hard life at times. It can’t be easy to have 4 kids and your alcoholic husband just up and leaving you. It can’t be easy having three open heart surgeries. She made it look pretty easy to me though. My Grandma re-married my Grandpa Fred and they made a wonderful family together. She survived his passing 4 years ago, after he was given 6 months to live and then proceeded to live several years (he was stubborn too). I can still hear him say “oh my garsh.” haha. I don’t think there was anything more important to my Grandma than her family and I am so proud to have gained that trait from her. She never wanted to die because she didn’t want to leave her family.
I wasn’t as geographically close to my Grandma as my other cousins were, something I was always a little jealous of because I did have that closeness with my other Grandparents, but I think I tried hard to make up for it every time we would visit. When I was younger, my cousins seemed a lot older so I stayed home most of the time with my Grandparents filling my time helping my Grandma pick fruits and vegetables in the garden, or canning them, or cooking them. My passion for cooking is certainly from my Grandma and I always enjoyed telling her about what I would make for my dinner parties I have hosted as I got older. I will always have her with me when I am cooking.
I learned to knit from my Grandma, I remember her teaching me how to knit and purl while we were sitting in the living room…probably watching Jeopardy. I learned to play cribbage with both of my Grandparents and always looked forward to playing with them. Even as it got harder for my Grandma to shuffle and I would sometimes have to look up some rules on the phone to remind us, she would always play a game or two with me. When I left her house this time, I took that cribbage board with me, and I think that made me saddest of all.
I talked to my Grandma a lot this weekend before she passed. I told her about Shai and I selling our house, and other things I would have told her on the phone when I called her every other Wednesday. I told her I will keep making her fruit-cakes for Christmas like I have the last couple years, that I saw the biggest strawberry ever the other day and it reminded me of a picture of her bending over in the garden picking strawberries with me next to her, that she was the strongest woman I knew, that I got my stubbornness from her, and that one day I hope to be a mother and grandmother whose family will fly from across the country to be with her because thats how much love she deserves.
I am grateful that I have had so many opportunities as I got older to make trips out to spend quality time with her and make more memories. I am grateful that my husband calls his own Grandma so frequently that it inspired me to make sure I called my own more regularly. She and I both enjoyed those conversations on the 35 min drive home from work. When I drive home from work today, it will be hard not having her to call. Wednesdays were typically her day.
I am so lucky to be as old as I am and have had relationships with all of my Grandparents but it also makes it harder because I know what I am missing now. Death is really the worst thing about life. It is really something hard to wrap your brain around. Even though I was there for her passing…sitting here on my couch in Vegas makes it feel less real but the automatic tears rolling down my face remind me it is very real. I can hear her on the phone telling me not to cry.
I know my Aunt Wendy would always share my blog posts with Grandma, sometimes I would be telling her about a trip and she would tell me she had seen the post or pictures on Facebook. She won’t need anyone to show her this post, but I wanted to make sure I said goodbye to her here too.