|Brian's Dad's favorite picture of Grandma.|
One we now have displayed on a shelf next to her dominoes.
My 'leave of absence' on writing in the blog began right around the time when Brian got a call that Grandma had suffered a stroke and we drove through the night to be home with family, exactly where we needed to be. We spent the week, and her passing, by her side, and could not be more grateful that our lives allowed us the opportunity to pick-up and do so. One of the hardest things I've experience in my life, I must say. Seeing the sadness of a loss in those you love in addition to losing someone who you care for is an emotionally taxing experience. I was fortunate to have known her for about 6 years, but certainly feel lucky to have had that. I haven't written anything about it until now, as I kind of let the few months I did not blog go un-recapped. Since we're all about honesty around here, it was mostly because I knew I couldn't go back and re-cap everything without starting here. I think the older you get the harder loss becomes. So, here goes nothing...we're keeping it real around here. With some touches of humor, I promise!
|The first time I met Grandma, December 2006.|
It's this time of the year, especially, that I think of my own (Great) Grandma a lot, as her birthday is March 8. She passed away 11 years ago. She would have been 99 this year- born in 1914. Wow. She was an amazing Great Grandma and I have so many childhood memories of her. I only wish that she had stayed with us longer. The older you get, the more you appreciate the times you share with your family, and I wish I had more with her. She taught me so much and I have many memories with her.
Just a few, for good memories sake: how to measure ribbon to tie on Christmas presents (this memory is so vivid, for some reason), planting her flowers each Spring, sewing, decorating her tree and setting up her manger each Christmas with David, her being at my first skating competition in Big Rapids (when I won 1st in both my events!), the Detroit Tigers always seeming to be on her TV, News Radio WJR blaring away on her 'ancient' radio every time you walked in the side door (it was SO loud, especially in the later years when her hearing was gone), playing 'grocery store' and emptying out her pantry to set-up my very own super market in the living room, slicing my finger wide open during one of our 'sewing lessons' when she let me use a rotary tool I probably should not have been, stories of her drinking 'Cold Duck' (I think?) in her younger days Up-North, going to 4:30 Saturday mass and then dinner at Olympic or Old Country Buffet when I was younger, teaching me how to fill out checks and letting me fill out hers for her bills, the way she would rub my back when I was falling asleep at night as a little girl, and there always being a 'special snack' in the fridge when I came to visit- Garlic Dills, freshly cut veggies and dip, or Flinstone's Push-Pops ring a bell, and so, so much more. Man, lots of great ones!
One of my last memories is of the days when I was 16 and we would spend weekends visiting her in hospice. I can't even remember how long that went on, to be honest. I recall one particular weekend when she requested 'Thunderbird' (go read this post again, this one brought back great memories too!). She was talking about my Dad's police canine dog, named Thunder, who she feared with all her might. It was the oddest request for someone who was not cognisent, but we of course abided by her wishes and my Dad brought him. I think she may have reached out to pet him and Thunder was the gentlest, most well-behaved dog ever in that moment. He knew. All of the memories sure do make me smile. I have to think that she'd be so proud of David and I, if she was here today. Always looking down on us, I'm certain.
|Great Grandma and I. Not sure exactly how old I was here.|
Brian's Grandma would have been 98 today. Just like with my Great Grandma, there are so many great memories from just the short time I knew her. Stories of life on the farm, her working days, stories of her playing mumbly-peg (Google that- it involves knifes and your feet!), games of dominos and cards with her when we were home, stories of her beloved cats, making her famous pancakes, her delicious holiday baked goods, a story of how she tried to trick Brian into eating a salad with bananas in it, seeing how much she liked sitting with Ries and petting her, and my personal favorite (on a lighter note!)- us thinking we were actually 'tricking' her into believing that Brian and I did not live together, since we are not married. We never told her I moved into his house several years ago, but she was sharp as a tack. Couldn't get anything by her! It went a little something like a game of 20 questions. Something along the lines of this, where she let us know that we weren't fooling her!
Grandma: Does Ries live with Amanda or Brian?We were fortunate to have had the years with her that all of us did. She was so, so loved. Evident by the number of people who attended her viewing and funeral, and through all of the shared stories that week, which made us all laugh and cry. We had our first Christmas without her and had our last visit to her house, during the holidays. A house that Brian has many memories of, growing up in and visiting. Ever since then, her afghan has lived on our couch and her dominos in a jar on our shelf, a constant reminder of a woman who had such an impact on our lives.
Us: With Amanda.
Grandma: Does Ries ever stay at Brian's house?
Us: Yes, when Amanda goes out of town.
Grandma: Does Amanda live by Brian?
Grandma: In the same city?
Grandma: In the same area?
Grandma: Is it on the same street, maybe?
Grandma: Aha, I see. Uh-huh.
Whew. A little bit of a heavy post, especially for a Friday night. Might have gone through a half of bottle of wine and taken a good hour+ to write this one... no lie. But, these are the memories and this is our life. I won't ever forget those weeks we spent back home, even in a time of sorrow. Together, we've never had to deal with a loss like that. It's the coming together of family in these times of need that also makes an everlasting imprint on your life, and I'm thankful we were there. On that note, Happy Birthday Grandma, and very soon, Great Grandma! Two wonderful women who will forever be in our hearts!!