In honor of my Grandma who passed away 15 years ago today. I wrote this in 1999 and decided I would share it here today:
We were very close when I was growing up, my Grandma and I. She went to all my ball games and sat through all kinds of weather to cheer me on. My Grandma was the one yelling “She can’t hit, just throw another strike!” and cussing the umpires, “Hey, buddy are you blind?” She went to all the band concerts, even the grade school ones when we barely knew scales. My brother and I were at her tiny apartment all the time. We spent the pennies we won playing poker with her at the little dairy down the street and she left us quarters so we could play Astroids and Pac Man after school. We baked cookies and always stayed up way too late watching movies and eating junk food. I can still picture the mess we would make, flour on the walls and floor, cracker crumbs and cheese whiz smashed into the shag carpet. The smell of fresh baked cookies still reminds me of her. I was lucky to have such a wonderful Grandma, but if you asked her she was the lucky one. She was so proud of everything I did.
As I grew older, life got busy with school, work, the marching band and my friends. We didn’t see each other as much, but the connection was still the same. She went through the drive thru at McDonald’s on Saturday mornings to say hello and she always bragged that her granddaughter was the “head” biscuit maker at the Main St. McD’s. We wrote letters and called as often as possible. She was there when I graduated high school and college. Boy was she proud! When I called to tell her I was getting married she said, “You love him huh? Is he a good man? He better treat you good or I will beat his ass!” She always knew what to say. My Grandma was there for my wedding and she was the first one I called when my daughters were born. She sure was thrilled to be a Great Grandma, or Granny B as my oldest so fondly called her.
All good things must come to an end they say, but I was not prepared for the end that would come. One day in mid August, just weeks after my youngest was born I got a call that Grandma was in the hospital again. Not to worry my mom said, she’s been through this before. She’ll make it just fine, like she always does. My mom asked me to bring the girls over to see her before the surgery. I remember that my in-laws were visiting from out of state and I almost made the decision not to go. I will forever be grateful for the little voice in me that told me I should go. That was the last time Grandma got to see and talk to my two little girls. My youngest was just weeks old but Grandma got to hold her and my oldest got to talk to Granny B. Each day after the surgery was slow. Days soon turned into weeks. Grandma got better, and then she got worse. She got a little bit better then she got a lot worse. It was extremely difficult and even scary to see her in the ICU. The wires and tubes were everywhere and she had bruises you wouldn’t believe. Breathing machines and IV’s were strewn about. It was hard to tell if she knew who was there. Every weekend for several weeks I went to see her and talk to her. We talked about the girls, the weather and how her beloved Cubbies were doing. I wish she had gotten to see them win a World Series. My mom and my aunt stayed with her practically around the clock but the time soon came when they knew she was no longer strong enough to fight. One warm day in early September, my Grandma passed away.
We had everything, my Grandma and I, a bond that could never be broken. I think of her often and from time to time reach for the phone to tell her something cute one of the girls did or said or something that happened that day. I miss you Grandma, thank you for being my biggest fan!
Added September 9, 2014:
I know that my Grandma would be extremely proud of my daughters and gush about how beautiful, smart and talented they are. I wish that she’d had the chance to see them grow up and gotten the chance to meet my wonderful new husband, beautiful step daughters and the cutest Great, Great Granddaughter there is. Rest in Peace Granny B, I love you!