Friday, November 25, 2011


My grandmother passed away this evening. We've been preparing for this for quite some time. We even knew it would happen soon. But nothing prepares. Nothing makes the loss feel any easier.

I'm home alone tonight. I just got the news and I haven't anyone to talk to at the moment. I don't know what else to do with my time now but sit here and write about her.

She was a remarkable woman who lived. I mean, we all live...but she LIVED. She made music, and artwork, cookies, and babies and houses. She laughed, joked, danced and had quite a knack for using slang. She had three husbands. Yes, that's right, three.

Most importantly though, she taught me about the steadfast love of family.

Growing up around the corner from my grandparents was nothing short of heaven. My grandmother would walk me to Jean's for some "nourishment" (ice cream). We would play records, go to the mall to sample perfume or go to Vitalli's for dinner only because they had a child-sized sink in the ladies room. Later, during my tumultuous teen years, hers was the door I ran to when I had an argument with my Dad. She taught me about leadership. She ran the auxiliary of the Disabled American Veterans like a well-oiled ship.

Before I was born and two husbands in, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. They operated on her and removed it, but it left her in a vegetative state. They weren't sure she would ever fully recover. But through stubbornness, my grandfather's perseverance and a little bit of crocheting, she not only recovered but stood in line to catch the bouquet at my wedding.

Oh, how I loved my grandmom. She was always happiness, light and sweet smells. Sitting there, watching her fingers deftly create some new piece of artwork could occupy me for hours. Sadly, I did not inherit her gift for knitting and crocheting. But I did inherit her baking skills. I thought of her yesterday as I added my own touch to some pumpkin pie. I still have her famous cookie recipe. It's written on note paper in her typical scrawl. I think that if my house were on fire, that would be one of the things I would save.

Every time I left her house, she would stand at the door with her arms crossed across her chest. I would get to the bottom of the steps, turn to her and do the same. It was the sign for "I Love You'.

My grandfather passed away 10 years ago. They had a perfect marriage. I guess "third time's a charm" really was the case. He made her laugh. They traveled and cooked and played. She would make him put on a Santa suit every christmas.

Right now I'm clinging to the comforting notion of heaven. I imagine her this way: tall, thin, young. Her blonde hair impeccably curled. Walking into that local dance right after WWII. Seeing that handsome, cigar clutching Purple Heart winner. He leads her onto the dance floor and holds her for the first time/again. She is happy. She is at peace. She is home.

I miss you already, Grandmom. I'll forever be your sugarplum.