I began my morning with homemade empanadas for breakfast (her recipe) and got the cornbeef and cabbage started in the croockpot (her tradition.) One year ago today, I shared these words at my Grandmother’s funeral:
When someone dies sometimes it seems that they chose to go. Other times it seems the Lord took them. In my Grandma’s case I am pretty sure the Lord felt it time to take her. My Grandma was a planner and she liked to follow through on them. She had a lot of plans. We were coming to visit next week and we had plans for the summer. Mostly I know that this was God’s will and not Grandma’s plan because it’s March Madness. She loved college basketball and she would not have planned to leave until she knew how this year’s tournament turned out.
Grandma and I talked often. Nearly once a week, sometimes several times a week. One time I called her about something and I rattled off what I thought was a riveting tale. She interrupted me though and said, “Michal, I love when you call but I will have to call you back. I’m watching March Madness.” I didn’t even know what that was and when I found out it was basketball… Well, I learned when I could call Grandma and when I couldn’t.
She loved movies and books…we talked about those things a lot and she would fill me in on all her girlfriends. I loved hearing the latest about those ladies. She loved to travel and hoped I would go to the places she’d gone. I’m so glad that we got to do a little traveling together. She taught me to be a tourist of your hometown. “Visit the museums, the zoo, learn about the city’s history, get to know the local artists…” This way when people came to visit you, you would know where to go and have information about your town.
Grandma also taught me to use my nice things. Don’t reserve your good dishes for Holidays and special occasions only. I always loved that we used her nice things. Having a friend or granddaughter visit was occasion enough.
For some reason I got sick several times when visiting Grandma. But I kind of loved it! She would bring me breakfast in bed. There would be a little bowl of oatmeal and toast. The toast was golden. It was perfect and it was buttered just right! There would be a little jar of marmalade, jelly or honey. Sometimes she would include a bud vase with a flower or two. She made it so special! Even if I couldn’t eat any of it, the presentation made me feel better. Whenever I’m sick I call her and tell her I wished I was at her house for her special breakfast in bed.
On one of my visits we got really tickled about something. I can’t remember what. In the middle of our fit of laughter my mom called to see how our visit was. She was alarmed by how hard we were laughing and she told me not to make Grandma laugh like that anymore. She was worried she would choke or something. Well that had Grandma and I doubled over! For the rest of the visit it was the running joke. Not just that trip but any time we laughed till we cried one of us would scold the other and we’d laugh again.
My family was visiting Grandma when I was 15 years old. I had a mad crush on a young man. My sister and I shared the sofa sleeper in the den. One night while I laid in that sofa sleeper I prayed that I would marry that guy. And I did. Man, my Grandma adored you! To her, you could do no wrong. I learned that I could not talk to her about being upset or annoyed with my husband because she would always take his side. She would remind me of what a good husband, father and provider he was. She’d tell me to suck it up and get over it. In fact she adored all of her grandchildren-by-marriage. Cathy and Elisa, she bragged on you girls all of the time, to friends and family. She bragged to me about what beautiful, smart, kind-hearted women you were as if I didn’t even know you! Cathy, she thought you were so brave and was particularly proud of your service to our country and our family. She would go on about you three so much that I would tease her that she loved her grandchildren-by-marriage more than her actual grandkids. She never really refuted… No, I know she loved all of her grandkids and we each had a unique place in her heart.
She was so, so proud of her family, especially her daughters. You blessed her life. She always referred to her daughters as examples for me to follow. She loved them very much and was proud of the way they overcame obstacles in their lives and were self-made women. Just like her.
Grandma’s life had bumps and hurdles and she found ways over or around them. She made very deliberate decisions about her life and made it what she wanted it to be. She took care of her things and she took care of herself so that she could live the good life. And she did. Grandma lived a very good and full life.
I will miss our talks. I don’t know how I’ll know what movies to avoid now! I can’t believe that I won’t see her or hear her voice anymore. I think if I consider her heart on matters I will always be able to hear her advice. She was one of my best friends and my most favorite lady.
Grandma, you were my best friend. You are ever present in my thoughts and memories. I’m missing you terribly today! I’m gonna have a blast in your honor. Love you!