My Gramma is passing. From this life to the next. We've known, she's known. It's been coming for a couple months now. The Drs opened her up only to find the cancer was too big. Too involved. Too terminal. They closed her back up and sent her home. She moved in with my parents and hospice was ordered. Her days were numbered.
But she's still here. In pain, and often wishing she weren't. But she is.
I've thought about it many times over this past month. What will I post when she's born into Heaven? (That's sounds better to me than DIE. And it's what I believe in my heart.) But over these past few days, as she hangs onto life, I've thought to myself, "Why am I waiting?" Why wait to put into words what this woman has meant to me? She should be able to read them before she leaves. I want her to know.
So here I am. Here are my words.
She's funny. In a subtle, under her breath, stir the pot sort of way. In a crowd she'll say what she thinks she is supposed to. But with us she says what is on her mind. And it's been known to piss off more than a few. But it's also been known to ring true. And to have heart. And to be laced with sarcastic, but meaningful LOVE.
She's feisty. Some may call it stubborn. But since I share this trait with her, I prefer to see it as spunk, personality, pizazz. Once she has made up her mind, there is no changing it. And she sees no need to apologize or explain if you think otherwise.
She's Newport. I've lived here most of my life. So has she. Many of my thoughts on this town, come from my Gramma. I think of her stories of our high school in the 30's (yes, we went to the same high school), of her dancing late into the night at the Pavilion with her sisters. She told me she couldn't take my Grandpa to senior prom because he was a sailor in the Navy and that was forbidden by the school (little did they know he was her husband!)
She's a rebel. She snuck off to Arizona at 17 and got married, lying about her age. Their love spanned over 50 years. Times of want and times of plenty. Through good and bad, thick and thin. 4 kids and a life full of experiences later, she buried her teenage love.
She loves Liver and Onions. Enough said.
She's a good cook. (You have to be to make good Liver and Onions!) I have fond memories of making oatmeal cookies with her as a kid. And I often call her for recipes or cooking advice. She's one of the only "old ladies" in her building that still cooks all her own meals, 3 x's a day, all from fresh ingredients.
She's frugal. She washes out ziploc baggies and reuses sheets of foil. She can make dinner out of a barren fridge and pantry and recycles birthday and Christmas cards. She's not above buying used, plain wrapped, or store label if it's a better buy. And she's been known to drive across town when sugar or rice is on special! Her favorite glass of wine is pink and comes out of a box.
She's a great seamstress. You have to be good to make tiny Barbie clothes! Which she did for me when I was little. One of my earliest memories with her is sewing pot holders for my Mom. Last time Molly played at her house, GG gave her a needle and some burlap and taught her how to embroider.
She's never let me down.
She collects tea cups. They are what I have gifted her many a holiday. And now, at the end of her days, they are what she has gifted back to me. And I cherish them...even though I don't drink tea. Diet Coke from a tea cup sounds pretty good to me. My little cup of Heaven, and my Gramma, every morning.
Cheers Gramma! I love you more than I can put into words. You have taught me what it is to be a woman of faith, of substance, and of quality. You have always worked hard and put your family before all else. You have always made me feel special. You have always showered crazy, sweet LOVE on my children. You have always been there for me....with a recipe, a listening ear, a willingness to babysit (never once have you told me no!) My life is so much fuller with you in it. I am so happy we are friends and we've always lived just blocks away. Most of all, I love that my children have had the joyous blessing of knowing their GG.
Gramma, I know you are ready. For someone who has lived such a full, healthy life, I can see this ending is no fun. So GO! I will miss you so, but I know you love me. (I've known this in my heart forever.) And now you know too. Now I have put into words a little bit of who you are to me and how much I love you. (Even though I think in your heart you already knew too.) Like Molly said last week, "I will still love you when you are in Heaven. Even there, you will still be my GG."
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