Today my family is gathered to remember my grandmother. There are a lot of reasons I can’t be there with them, but that doesn’t change the fact that I wish I could. 2012 has been such a tough year for so many reasons. One of those reasons is losing two people who are very special to me but because of extenuating circumstances, not be able to travel back home to say goodbye.
My grandmother had a really good, happy life, and I will always remember her positive spirit. In her last days on earth, she was diagnosed with two very terrible diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s, but despite that, she would always talk about how healthy she was and how good she felt. Alzheimer’s is a very sad disease, but one positive consequence for my grandmother was that she never remembered her diagnosis of cancer after it was initially shared with her. She was also fortunate that her Alzheimer’s didn’t progress more than it did, and in her final time on earth, she still knew her family who were there with her, taking good care of her.
As a child, I spent lots of time with my grandparents, and I have really fond memories of going over to my Papa and Grandmother’s house. My Papa was a real character, and part of the comedy of being around him was my Grandmother’s scolding his “bad behavior”. They had a dog named Toby who was already very old by the time I knew him as a child, but I was still always excited to go over to their house and play with him. I can remember going over sometimes on Sundays after church to eat lunch with them. My grandmother wasn’t too fond of cooking, so lots of times we would eat carry-out KFC with them and then my cousins and I would play with their set of marbles on their screened-in back porch or sometimes go down to the basement and watch sports with the men. We had an ulterior motive, though–that was where Papa kept his jellybean stash! When I was very young, I would spend the night a lot of times with them on the weekends, and Grandmother often told people that my favorite thing to do when I was with them was to “eat McDonalds and paint our fingernails.” My grandmother also was always stylish, and loved to shop, so I have lots of fun memories of going shopping with her and my sister. The only bad part about those trips was riding in the car with her. She was a bit of a nervous person, and she was cautious when driving–to a fault. Everytime we would pull up to a stoplight with her, we would all tease Grandmother about laying off the brakes since our heads would often be bobbing from her constant tapping of them when she tried to stop!
I feel very fortunate to not only have grown up with all 4 of my grandparents still alive for my entire childhood and the majority of my adulthood so far, but to also have them play such a big role in my life. I will miss my Grandmother dearly, but I am very thankful for the happy life she lived and the part I got to play in that.