I’ve been home for four days now, and I’m having a hard time getting back to writing here. I have been taking care of a lot of other things that I needed to do online, but I’m just having a hard time coming back to write.
I think that my biggest problem is that I suspect I’ll need to do a post or two about my Grandma and her passing. Actually, I know I do. And, until I do it, I don’t think I can write anything else. So, I’m going to get to work on processing through it all soon. Very soon.
Until then, I will share what I wrote to read at my Grandma’s funeral service. If you know me well, you may be surprised that I was able to get up and read it. I’m the girl who cries at things like Hallmark commercials, the National Anthem, Christmas carols, when other people are crying, and a whole myriad of other reasons. I know that God was with me. (It also helped that I didn’t look up at anyone. Oh, and I did cry anyway, but mostly I was able to just read it.) Two of my sisters also read personal reflections. I think my Grandma would have liked that.
The reflection that I read during Grandma’s funeral service:
A question that Grandma seems to have asked an awful lot over the last few years was, “What do you want of mine when I’m gone?” It was an answer that I never had. In fact, it was always a question that would make my heart race. “I don’t know, Grandma,” is what I usually said. Sometimes, I would say, “I just want you to live forever.” In her practical manner, she would always take a matter-of-fact tone with me and say, “Well that’s just not going happen, so you better pick something.”
We only finally had a serious talk about it last month when the kids and I came to visit, when I told her that I loved some old white melamine bowls that she had, and maybe her metal measuring cups, just because those were things that really reminded me of eating at their house so often. I also could remember sitting as a child and playing with those metal measuring cups and making pyramids in her kitchen lazy Susan with Chicken Bouillon Cubes. Grandma said that was all fine, but I needed to pick something else. (In my head, I thought, “Darn it, Grandma, that was hard enough.”) She then suggested a piece of furniture, and after some discussion, in keeping with the food theme, apparently, I admitted that the dining room table held a lot of memories for me. After all of these years of her asking me that question, she was finally happy with my answer.
Then, however, I quickly said with a laugh, “Sure, of course it’s the fat girl that wants food related things.”
Grandma looked at me and put her hand on my leg, “No,” she said, “it’s just that we had a lot of really good memories that involve food.” Certainly nobody could argue that. Grandma was a wonderful cook, and you never left her house hungry. And, really big meals usually meant that our family was all together.
Another thing that you never left without knowing was her opinion on something. Grandma had strong opinions and feelings on things, and she wasn’t afraid to share them. One very vivid memory of Grandma that I have happened when I was probably a very early teen. We were shopping together at Prangey-Way with my cousin, Ash. Ash and I trailed her as she went through the women’s department. At one point, much to the horror of my teen mind (though it makes me laugh now), Grandma picked up a particularly unattractive shirt and declared loudly, “It’s on sale? They should pay someone to take this!”
I have had Grandma on my mind a lot over the last month, since the kids and I came to visit. We had such a nice visit with her and Papa in April, so I had been frequently thinking of it. Grandma told me several times that we needed to come back soon. I told her we would make it back in the next couple of months. “Don’t wait,” she told me. As Grandma has often been a bit dramatic, I didn’t worry about it at first. But, the more times she said that we needed to come back soon, I started to believe that might very well be true. And, as we were readying to leave their house on our last night in Wisconsin last month, Grandma gave me the longest hug that she had ever given me. It was as if maybe she already knew that, although it wasn’t the last time I hugged her, it would be the last time she would be able to hug me. As we hugged, I felt her choking back tears, which, of course, made me have to choke back tears too. It was shortly after that that we decided we needed to come for a visit for her birthday and Mother’s Day, which fell on the same weekend this year.
In the end, we came for our visit, but by that point, she didn’t know we were there, though I like to think that maybe she did. As my husband, Eric, left on Sunday to return home as the kids and I stayed here to help take care of Grandma in her final days, he apologized saying, “I’m sorry that you are going to have a junkie Mother’s Day. I have no card for you, no gift, I’m leaving you with all of the kids, and you’re going to be watching your Grandma dying.” When I looked back on my Mother’s Day, however, while I snuck away for a few minutes to use McDonald’s WiFi service on the night Grandma passed away and read on Facebook about friends who received things like flowers, chocolates, and gifts for Mother’s Day, I realized that though my Mother’s Day had been hard, it was exactly what Mother’s Day was really about. I was surrounded by so many of the women of my family that day, and we showed our love for our family’s matriarch by caring for her until the end.