The other day marked 11 years since my grandmother passed away. I think it is the first time that my brain didn’t officially register the date until I was looking at my Facebook Memories. But I have also been quite preoccupied with a lot of other things. Or maybe because we are now well past that first decade, it is finally getting easier. But I still miss and think about her every day.
Grandma and I were super close. I was probably closest to her out of all of the grandkids. In fact, when she passed and we were prepping for her memorial, my cousins elected me to speak on behalf of us all.
I think a lot of it was because I was naturally always around. After I was born, my parents decided to build a house and store, so we lived with my grandparents while they were being built. Grandma picked us up from church every Sunday morning and we spent the afternoons with her. We were also the only cousins who were actually in town.
When I started college a half hour away and my parents also moved, I would often stay at Grandma’s when I came to visit friends. When I took a teaching job in her town, we got together for dinner once a month. When I later moved 400 miles away, I made a special point to still return for all of her birthdays and holidays. And I still made sure I called on a regular basis to just check in. Just never during tennis – especially if Roger Federer was playing – or she would hang up on me. Same during Jeopardy.
Grandma always took me to the library and to the movies. In fact, she’s the one who told me I absolutely had to read this new Harry Potter book and also got me into mysteries like Agatha Christie. We saw every Disney movie together through Beauty and the Beast and watched Shirley Temple on Sundays. My first taste of rock music was on the radio at her house one night. And I learned all about chocolate chip cookies and pudding from scratch. She was also ruthless in every card game and board game we played, teaching me how to be competitive and also a good loser.
Grandma was the keeper of the family history, patiently answering all of my repeated questions as I poured over the old family albums. She’d tell me more stories as we walked around the cemetery behind the house. She was a woman of few words, so I was eager to absorb all she would share.
Her astounding wisdom made her appear larger than her petite stature. And it’s that wisdom that I miss the most as I continue stumbling through life. We talked about everything. I could still use her sage advice and still wish I could share books with her. And I have a million more questions to ask.
She really was like my second mom, especially after Mom’s Alzheimer’s started to show. I lost a piece of myself when she passed and still miss her to this day.