Today my family lost a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, an aunt, and a friend. She lived a fascinating life, she loved, and she is immensely loved in return. She will be sorely missed.
For the past couple of months as every phone call would wind down she would tell me how much she loves me and would inevitably remind me that she would not be around for much longer. No one wants to be reminded of mortality, I poo-pooed her morbidness to focus on the moment with her.
On Tuesday evening we were called by my uncle that we should immediately travel in to town. We arrived yesterday afternoon. Last night before I left her room I kissed her on her mouth and told her how much I love her. She exhaled, pushing out, "Iloveyou," with all of her strength as a one syllable mutter. My cousin, Kim, was quietly humming, "You are My Sunshine."
This morning, as my mother was sitting by her bedside, holding her hand, Gramma succumbed peacefully.
I am sad for my mom. I am sad for my uncle and his family. I am sad for her best friend, Miss June. I am sad for myself. I know this sadness will pass. But, I am happy that G is no longer in pain or suffering.
This afternoon, as Mom, Dad, and I were taking a long, quiet lunch and reflecting on G I remembered I took a class a few years ago and wrote a paper about Gramma.
In the Fall of 2011 I took a class, The History of Childhood in America. The assignment was to interview a person that is alive prior to World War II and relate it to the readings for class. I chose my Gramma. I called her the evening before the paper was due, of course, and spent hours on the phone with her listening to her stories. I had her on speaker phone, which I am sure she would not have liked because she had an audience of Pandora and Phaedra wide-eyed listening to every word while I furiously wrote her stories in shorthand. This assignment made me realize that Gramma was much more than just my Gramma, she is a friend. I began calling her every week and for the past two years I have looked forward to reminiscing her stories and sharing my own with her. Here is the paper in its entirety.
When asked, “What was your dad like?” She responded, “Dad was quiet. He didn’t raise a lot of problems. He worked. He played cards at the Saloon. He would drink while playing cards, come home, drink a cup of coffee and go to bed. He’d go to card parties at the church and win many prizes. He taught us cards; we all played different games. He played with us. I remember him giving me, what they used to call, ‘Dutch Rubs.’ This is when he’d take his newly grown whiskers and rub them all over my face to tickle me. I would giggle out loud, ‘Stop it Daddy, you're hurting me!” (Ghelarducci)