I wish I could tell you more about my grandma.img_1362.jpeg

I’m the youngest grandchild. This probably means I was spoiled in some way, as I was the last baby to cuddle, the last toddler to dress up, the last little kid. I don’t remember any of that – I just remember being the last to grow up. The last to be old enough to play with the big kids, the last to be mature enough for the adult table. It also meant I had the least amount of time with my grandparents, the least amount of memories stored up. When I was only 13 and my grandfather passed away, I remember being bitter my older family members got more time with him. My brother and cousins got his presence at graduations and promotions; he would never be at mine. They got more opportunities to ask him questions. They got more time.

I wish I could tell you more about my grandma.
Her memory started going around the same time I started having one. I guess you could say she started becoming less of a person when I started becoming more of one. I remember bits and pieces of her taking care of me as a small child – tying my hair back in pony tails with normal rubber bands, heating up the milk for my corn flakes and putting sugar on top, coming into the front room with biscuits in the afternoon (we’re English, we don’t call them cookies). I remember calling her Dubbee, because my brother named her that as he was first learning to talk and it stuck for years and years. I remember her making lunch and carrying it to the TV trays, so they could watch the soap operas my grandpa recorded on VHS together. I remember little things, here and there, but I was too young. I was so little. Sadly, what I remember most is a woman plagued by a mixture of dementia and early onset alzheimer’s. I remember a grandma who was just there …yet at the same time wasn’t really there at all. I remember her wandering into my room at 7am on Saturdays, to turn on my light and see that I was in bed, then walk out like nothing happened. I remember visiting her at the Posada and sitting in silence, never much to say from either of us. I remember her British “Eh?” after every question we asked, because she was so hard of hearing. I wish I remembered more. I wish I had more to remember.

I wish I could tell you more about my grandma.
I feel like I learned more about her life the weekend she passed away than I did my whole life beforehand. Sitting on the floor going through old pictures, I got to see her and my grandfather at their engagement party. I discovered they got dressed up and went dancing at the English club once a month with their other British friends. I found little trinkets that she brought with her on their very first journey to America, when they were only allowed to bring so little. I saw her at a church women’s retreat in the mountains; I saw her in a pretty blue dress, on the day of my parents’ wedding; I saw her standing next to my mom on her graduation day, smiling so proud. I have a similar picture of me and my parents on my graduation day – I wonder who will be looking at it in 30 years. I found out she kept a diary; I found out she wrote her children letters way back when and gave them, tucked in her diary, to them for this very moment. I smiled, because it sounds like something I would do. Maybe that’s where I get it from. I’d like to think so.

I wish I could tell you more about my grandma.
I wish I could show you a secret family recipe that she taught me over the years. I wish I could point you towards a specific item in my house that she gave me, that holds such significance for the two of us. I wish I could tell you about a tradition that the two of us had together. I don’t have any of those things. I never got any of those things. The grandma I knew, the one I remember, wasn’t able to give those things. But my grandma gave me my mom. She loved her and she taught her and she molded her and she made her just the way she is. She was the best mom to her, so she could be the best mom to me. And for that I am forever grateful.

You don’t really get to say “gone too soon” when someone passes away at 87. That’s a long life. It was a full life. It was a good life. I wish I could tell you more about it.

I wish I could tell you more about my grandma…img_1354.jpeg

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  1. Pingback: To All the Mothers in My Life

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