Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rest in Peace Grandma

Today we will drive back the town we just moved away from. Tonight we will attend the viewing of my grandmother's body at the local funeral home. Tomorrow we will attend the funeral and I will carry her casket to the grave along with 5 of my 14 cousins. How odd that I have been a pallbearer at both of my grandmother's funerals.

I was never close to my father's mother. It's only been as an adult that I have been able to see what kind of woman she was. She raised six children with little money and an alcoholic husband. I'm told he was not a mean alcoholic, but rather a congenial one, one that everyone liked, but an alcoholic just the same. She worked whatever job was available and ran a tight ship. She watched three of her children become alcoholics, two that died from it, and one that managed to pull himself out of it. She buried a seventh child as an infant. She loved each of the fourteen grandchildren, one of whom she never even got to meet, and loved each of her 20? great grandchildren (I've lost count of all of them now). She adored my son and he loved her back in a way that I never could. She lost her husband 28 years ago, moved to a new town, and in her late fifties took a job as a home health aide. She continued that job well into her seventies. In her seventies she suffered a leaking blood vessel in her brain and, amazingly, had a full recovery from it.

She was an independent, outspoken woman who did what was needed without complaint. She loved but didn't necessarily show it, as that was how she was raised.

I'm sorry grandma, that I didn't take the time to learn more about your history, where you came from, how you grew up. I'm glad that my children got to know you in a way that I didn't. I'm glad you didn't have to suffer long and that you are at rest.

Even though I never once heard you tell me that you loved me, I know you did and I'm glad that I did tell you I loved you, because I did and do.

I will always remember how you had candy corn for me every time I visited. I will always remember how you always had a dollar bill and a candy for each of my children when they visited and how, even in the hospital after your stroke you wanted me to find your purse so as to give each of the kids their dollar and their candy. I will always remember you grandma. I didn't expect to feel it as much as I do, I didn't expect to take your death so hard but I am. Thank you for being my grandma.

I will bring my camera and document the gathering of your large family with photos. Morbid as it may be, some of us only see each other at family funerals. Hopefully it will be many years before your remaining sons and daughter pass away, therefore it will be many years before I see these cousins again. I will take the photos and, at some point down the road, make a funeral book for each of your remaining children because you will not be forgotten.


Chele76 said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Grandmother.

...sending love and hugs in your direction.

miwise said...

Sending hugs.

Vanessa said...

Again, so sorry.