Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Saying Goodbye...

For 36 years I had my Gram.  

She took care of me from the time I was very little until I went off to first grade.  Under her care I learned my letters/colors/shapes, the proper order in which to eat any lunch, and the simple pleasure of a post bath Jean Nate powdering.  But most importantly, she taught me that most mundane things are always improved when you create and sing a nonsense song and dance a little jig. 

It never hurts to wear a “snood” either. ..

Gram was a big supporter of all her grand kids.  A constant presence in my life, she attended almost every torturous band concert, embarrassing dance recital and talent show, numerous little kid birthday parties, and every graduation.  As the most devout person in my life, I also asked her to be my confirmation sponsor - an honor in her book.  

Always thinking of others, I received a card (usually with a couple bucks to treat myself to an ice cream or beer) for EVERY Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas my entire life.  There was sometimes a special note, but there was always "a love and God bless".  Mail will never be the same and I’m pretty sure Hallmark’s stock will plummet.  

As a person who treasured time with her family above everything, Gram never missed a wedding, anniversary party, or holiday celebration.  I am going to miss Thanksgiving chats, dying Easter eggs (hers always came out better than ours), and most importantly Christmas eve dinner. 


Gram loved nothing more than traveling.  She took pride in the number of places she had visited in her life.  When we were kids she took us on special family trips to Niagara Falls, a grand tour of Europe, a family trip to Ireland and spent every summer with us on Cape Cod.  


She found ways to visit me in college, during grad school in DC, and almost every year I have lived in New York City.  The countless shared Broadway plays, trips to national monuments and museums, visits to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, drinks and dinners are some of my most treasured memories.  


For reasons unknown at the time, she also agreed that the two of us should go celebrate her (actual) German heritage with a trip to Oktoberfest.  Shortly after securing our very first beers, she told me the following story:

 “After the cancer doctor told me I was in remission, I told your Grandfather I wanted to see Germany before I died.  We came to Oktoberfest and I sat across from an older woman.  Using my basic German, I was able to ask her age and she said 75.  I congratulated her and thought to myself ‘I will not live to see 75.’ But now, here I stand with my granddaughter, at 81 years old, back again at Oktoberfest! Prost!”  

St. Patrick’s Day…will just never be the same.  There is just nothing more to be said.  

Gram prayed for hours every day. She prayed for everyone she ever lost, asked for the health and safety of others, and begged strength and forgiveness from the God she loved so much.  However, the ONLY prayer for herself was a request for a quick and painless death.  In the two days before her death she got her hair and nails done, took a ride up to Provincetown and saw Despicable Me.  She fell, went into the hospital, and slipped away a few hours later surrounded by her kids at 89 years old.  There is much comfort in knowing her prayer was answered and certainly no one deserved it more. 

She was my hero, my friend, my inspiration and my most favorite person on earth.  She has been gone a only week and to say there is a Granny sized hole in my heart feels like a complete understatement.   

But because it is what she would have done, I am now going to put on my big girl panties, pour myself an extra-large beer, “offer it up” and “mog” on.   

I love you Gram. I will think of you every day. 

PS – She said we couldn’t make a photo wall or put a photo with her obituary (Or she would haunt us!) but she never said anything about a ginormous set of photos on Flickr.  I hope to grow this collection with older photos as they are pulled out of the basement and from various relatives.


Anonymous said...

What an amazing tribute to Gram...I love it and I love you.


Nancy said...

Such a beautiful tribute Anna.💞

Aunt Jeanne said...

Gram would love it that she and you created
such wonderful memories together. She'd be happy
that you created this wonderful posting about her.
May your shared memories bring you comfort.
Aunt Jeanne