My grandmother passed away a couple of days ago.
I would love to tell you we were incredibly close and intertwined in each other’s lives but unfortunately that wouldn’t be true (through no fault of hers).
I distanced myself from my family when I was 18 and never fully closed the gap, though I did make a lot more of an effort to be close to them the last few years.
My grandmother did not always understand me but she did always love me. She was brave and supportive and she grabbed hold of life and refused to live by terms set by anyone else.
My grandfather died when I was 5 years old. She picked herself up and found a full, amazing life with travel and adventures and I really want to be just like her when I grow up.
I live in Colorado so I knew odds were I wouldn’t be there to say goodbye when her time came. I offered to come down several times but everyone thought she had a little longer so our vacation to visit in a couple of weeks will now be to say goodbye.
How do you say goodbye after the fact?
I’ve never been good at that. I push my emotions into the box I’ve developed for them, put it on a shelf, and revisit it in fifteen years during a court mandated therapy session.
I can’t talk to a headstone. Hate sitting on the ground, bad hips, allergy to crabgrass, and the general feeling of “this is really stupid”.
So I’ll say it here, because saying it on the internet is way less awkward.
Grandma, you were a force of nature, a pistol, a lady. Being related to you was like being the granddaughter of Judy Dench. You could cut a person in half with three words and light up their whole day with that little comma of a smile. I’m sitting here next to a stuffed carousel horse I made with you when I was 9 years old because you remembered I loved horses and that week was the best week ever. You made lasagna and cheesecake on my birthday and you kept a shell in a box for me for thirty years. You were a tough bitch, a total darling, and I have been impressed and in awe of you since I was a little girl.
I miss you. I’m sorry I wasn’t around more. Hopefully you know it wasn’t about you. Thank you for taking us to see snow, putting us through college, teaching us the importance of proper manners and good grammar. Even if I ignore both of those sometimes.
I love you very much. I will think of you often.