(Note: This post was started in October 2011.) In my life, I've lost my keys, a job (two if you count my three hour shift at Macy's), a dog and numerous shoes, but I've never lost anyone I love. Until now. My Grandma died at the age of 89. She led a long, (presumably) full life. She saw the passing of six siblings, her own parents and lots of friends. I didn't spend as much time with her as I should have. Growing up, because she and my grandpa lived in the same town we would spend nights there when my parents left town. I remember trying to sneak out to a Metallica concert, I remember her confiscating my George Michael tape and telling my mother she thought I was on drugs because I slept a lot and she found some strange pills (Sam's Club brand aspirin). I remember being embarrassed when she would pick my sister and me up in her giant car and her velcro curlers and when she would honk that loud horn at the skateboarders on our way home. "Pull up you pants!" She'd yell (I think). She broke her arm playing kickball in our backyard when we were young and despite our lack of religious upbringing she never tried to push her religious beliefs on us. She was everything a grandma should be -- loving and kind, funny (at least she tried to be) and hard as I try I can't remember her being in a bad mood ever. I never saw her sad, though she must have been at times. I never saw her mad, though I know she must have been because I remember her wooden spoon. She thought I was ornery and, in truth, I was. She thought the Golden Girls were risque, but spent many a year (before my grandpa retired) glued to the afternoon soaps (ABC only, of course).
It wasn't a surprise when my grandma died. Her health (and her mind) declined quickly over the past year and my parents were there for her in a way that I only hope I can be for them when the time comes. One of my last memories of her is sitting in her (always warm) living room trying to get her to participate in some sort of chair aerobics on PBS. She wouldn't have it. By this time, should could barely rise from her chair (or go to the bathroom) without assistance. We watched the show in silence and she only became engaged again when Super Why! (a show aimed at improving childrens' vocabulary and spelling) came on. Grandma always did love her word searches. When I learned that she had passed away, I felt a sadness, of course; but it didn't really hit me until I walked into the funeral home and saw her laying in rest. For the first time, in a long time, she truly did appear restful. My grandfather started to cry. Despite my feminist tendencies, there's something about seeing a man cry that really gets to me. I cried, too. I cried out of relief that my grandmother would no longer suffer. I cried because I would never again see her at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Because I would never again hear that ridiculous story about her ordering a beer at Outback. I cried because I never asked her about her childhood or how she met my grandfather or what she thought about...anything. None of that stuff a good grandkid is supposed to do. I had 34 years to do this and squandered almost all. It's been a short year since she passed and so much has changed. I miss my grandma everyday and everyday I am reminded that we don't get lost time back.