We received word on Wednesday night while on our way to this weekend’s event that my grandmother, my dad’s mom, passed away. She was 95.
Most of my memories of her are from when I was a kid when we would go for visits and around holidays and she would always have stuffed animals to play with, cookies, her piano for my brother and I to bang on, her silly faces and fun stories, and a small toy to keep us busy while they and my parents caught up. My brother and I would take turns riding with my grandfather on his motorcycle through their property or on their small tractor. We’d pick berries next to the house or just relax out on their bench swing in the shade on a warm summer’s afternoon.
As I got older, and after my grandfather died, Grandma developed Alzheimer’s and declined pretty quickly to the point where she didn’t even know who we were anymore – though, strangely, she almost always recognized my mom. It finally got to the point when I knew that visits would be only for me and she’d forget that I was even there by the time I left the room. And I feel bad that I hadn’t made the time to go in so long.
When I would visit she’d still tell a few of those old stories of her childhood. The one of how her sister always made her walk in front of her down the street so she couldn’t mock her and her friends. And that she always beat up the boys. Or we’d hear the occasional French phrases she’d remember from school. And how whenever we would say goodbye she’d kiss you on the cheek and blow, making that wonderful sound as your face vibrated from a sign of affection that was distinctly “Grandma.”
It’s hard to be out of town and get this news, away from Kim, feeling so far away and yet really distracted by the job I have to do. At least I’m here with my dad and my brother as we face this loss together. And I’m glad that we’ll all be able to gather as a family next week to say our final goodbyes to Grandma.