Outside my window is what can only be described as a North Carolina blizzard. Inches and inches of snow are piling up. Inside, the Mr. and the little ones are fast asleep, I am a quiet chaos. Just as the snowflakes flit here and their tossed about on the winds, so is my heart. My gramma is dying, actually, by the time you read this, my gramma is most likely gone. In my christian heart I am rejoiced, glad at the end of her suffering, and the knowledge that she rests in the arms of a Heavenly Father, whole and comforted. In my selfish heart I am grieved, for all the opportunties I let slip by, for Lil Bit, who came so close to sharing her birthday, and yet, will never know her loving embrace. I grieve for Little Daddy, who won’t remember he ever did.
My heart aches for my Dad, Aunt and Uncles who are losing their mother, and although I know from talking with them that they see the mercy of God in this as well, they have longer memories than I do of this remarkable woman, and so it would seem, a little more to press on their hearts.
I think of Gramma often in this new life so far removed from my youth. When I braid Miss H’s hair, I remember the feel of her plaiting my own many years ago. (Until the arthritis took her ability away.) When I eat doughnuts, (her favorite breakfast) pass the library, or work the crossword puzzle I picture her there in her favorite chair (a recliner) doing the same, (in pen no less). I keep a candy drawer here, just as she has kept at her house for as long as I can remember. And same as “gramma’s drawer” you don’t go in ours without asking!!
My Gramma is a no nonsense kind of woman, she never let us grankids get away with anything, and I suspect she ran her home the same way. But I foolishly never thought to ask her about being a mom to four kids, and now of course I realize, she’s one of the few people who had done this.
Gramma told me once when I was pregnant with Little Daddy, about when she was pregnant with My Aunt no one knew because she gained such little weight, (I believe it she was always thin as a rail.) I still can’t tell if she meant it as a point of pride, or point of admonishment, (I get rather tubby when pregnant). But I remember that is was one of the few times I found myself thinking of my Gramma as a mother too.
My Gramma danced at my wedding, she flew across the country, partly against her will, (I heard tell there was some wine involved) to place my veil on my head moments before the Mr. and I were wed. She wore lavender, (her favorite color) and danced with my Dad at the reception.
My Gramma played Bingo every week, again, for as long as I can remember, and when I turned eighteen she let me come too. I only went a few times, I never won. But sometimes she did.
My kids call Gramma GiGi. An adorable mispronounciation that stuck, and I relish that Miss H and Cubby refer to GiGi and Rosie and Papa Mike with an affection reserved for their dearest playmates.
I regret that I didn’t ask more questions of Gramma about motherhood and wifedom. (she wore her wedding ring for so long it was wearing through on the bottom) Obviously Gramma, was stronger than gold.) I’m disappointed I didn’t press her harder for her potato salad recipe while she remembered it. (Although my husband and children will not eat it).
Two Christmases ago, Gramma went through all her costume jewelry and packed some into a treasure box my uncle guy had made and sent it to Miss H to use for dress up. I remember thinking at the time, what a special gift that was, and each time the kids use it, I remember.
Perhaps that is the point of this exercise, I remember. I remember video games, and croquet on the lawn, and 4th of July on main street (until it got too “wild”) and shopping at PACE for the free samples, and See’s Candies, (I loved the nut’s and chews and she loved the soft centers),Jelly bellys, gummi bears, Tweety Bird, and Grumpy the dwarf, bowling, and purple, butterflies, and loving a surprise.
I hope I brought her joy, and that she is at peace now, comfortable without her earthly burden. I love her still.