I often write blog entries that I never publish. For varies reasons, but usually just because I know that when I hit that "publish" button, the post is out there for the whole world to read, critique, criticize, assume, etc...so in order for a post to get to that point, it has to be perfect. No spelling or grammatical errors (or at least very few...I am human after all!), no incomplete thoughts, or anything too controversial or assuming.
Last year, almost to the day, I wrote a post that I never posted. I wrote with tear-filled eyes and a heart so heavy it was hard to breathe at times. When I was done, I reread it, and decided it felt incomplete and unfinished. During the days that followed, I tried to go back to it, but couldn't, and so that post has sat untouched for the past year.
My grandma died a year ago today. Charlotte's great-grandma, the one she affectionately referred to as "Peg!" has been gone for a year. As the old saying goes, gone but not forgotten. I am reminded of grams often, and many times over the last year have had to stop and remind myself she is no longer here. When the Price and Princess named their new daughter, Charlotte, I immediately thought that I needed to tells Grams. She loved the royal family and would think that it is the perfect name. While reading Katherine's newest piece of writing, I have caught myself thinking that I needed to have Katherine share this with Peg; Peg always loved that Katherine has a large interest in reading and writing. Or man, how I wished she could have been there to see Charlotte singing "Rainbow Connection" at her 5th birthday party.
Today, we had breakfast to celebrate Grams. Breakfasts with grams became such a big part of her last year on this earth, so it only seemed right to celebrate her that way. Kate made an almond cake for dessert; no meal for Grams was every complete without a good dessert, and she would have loved this cake.
Here is the post I wrote a year ago; it is untouched, unedited, and incomplete in parts, but encompasses so much of who she was and will always be.
This past Sunday, I said goodbye to the smartest lady I know. My grams.
Grandma had been dealt a pretty rough hand these past few years; a laundry list of diseases and conditions that slowly took away her ability to be independent. And despite knowing she is now at peace and no longer in pain, her death has hit my family hard. You see, even when you know it is coming at some point in the near future, when you lose someone like my grams, everyone who knew her suffers.
My grams wasn't your typical grandma. She truly was a brilliant woman; a librarian by trade, and a lover of books and poetry. She could answer any question on Jeopardy, and taught me more over my lifetime then I think she ever knew. A few years back, after being amazed by my "little black phone that could answer anything I asked it to," I convinced her to buy an iPad. We spent time together, practicing how to use it, and me assuring her that she would not break it no matter what she did. We nicknamed the home button the "oh shit" button. With grams, and occasional curse word was okay, as was discussing some of the taboo topics that most would never dream of discussing with their grandmother.
My grams was incredibly generous. We always kidded her that she printed "$20's" at her house. When Katherine was a baby, we would go and visit and take her to lunch every Friday, often stopping at the grocery store on our way home. She would have me pay for her groceries, always insisting I take a $20 for myself. She liked having a bunch of cash on hand just in case she needed it; once she left a few workmen painting while we went for our weekly lunch, and told me to remind her she hid her $20's in Sherlock Holmes in case she forgot.
She was generous in not only what she gave, but praise as well. She told me frequently what a great mom I am, and what a kind man I married.
My grandma's sense of humor is was what I will miss the most. This past week, it seems as every time I sit and think about her, I close my eyes and hear her laugh. Her chuckle as I would read her Katherine's newest piece of writing or share Charlotte's latest antics, or as she would listen to Jack's jibber jabber.
She spent the last days of her life at a hospice facility, surrounded by those who love her most. It was a hard, hard week as we prayed for her to leave us peacefully, and shared some of our fondest memories. We listened to her favorite songs; everything from "Scotland the Brave" to "Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog to Rod Stewart. I took both Jack and Charlotte to visit during her final days; some of her last laughs were at Jack as he sat next to her in bed and babbled away. During the past few years as she slowly lost her ability to live independently, read the newspaper, walk, care for herself, enjoy a good book, and finally after her last stroke her ability to fully communicate with us what she was thinking, we would visit often and she would get a kick out of watching the kids play.
Tonight of my way home from work, I promised the kids I would stop and get 49ers (a.k.a. McDonald's 49 cent ice cream cones) to celebrate great grams. Katherine asked if I thought it would be okay if she had a McFlurry instead. I told her I was positive Peg would approve, the bigger the treat the better, especially if it meant making my kids happy.
Keep calm and carry on.