Good Bye Grandma

Last night I spent the evening at a place that I had hoped I wouldn’t be at for a long time.

But on February 24, when I found out that my Grandma had brain cancer and was given 30-60 days to live, I knew I’d be at the funeral home soon.

Thursday evening my Grandma B passed away; gently and peacefully into her forever life where the pain from the cancers and the confusion from the dementia will haunt her no longer.
At the funeral home, they had slips of papers about 4 x 5 where they asked friends and family to share memories of my Grandma. My nephews were diligently writing their memories of their Great Grandma and I picked up one to start writing my memories as well…and then realized that my memories of the 33 years with my Grandma could never fit on a paper that small.

In fact, they may not fit on a whole page as my heart is filled with memories of spending time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

One of my earliest memories of Grandma is sharing her “special water” with me. I had to have been the age of my oldest son now…that’s how long ago this was. Grandma’s special water was like water sent from the heavens themselves. It was sooo good…certainly better than the water in Swartz Creek. I went home and spent weeks, literally, trying to find out the special recipe for Grandma’s water because I was sure there was something in it. I tried plain water, sugar, vanilla and salt amidst other combinations and could never find the Grandma’s water! It wasn’t until much later in life when we were talking about that incident one evening that Grandma laughingly revealed her water was Peppermint Schnapps and water!! Needless to say, we had some on the spot.

Growing up, we spent a lot of time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. And Halloween was no exception. After we went trick-or-treating to all the neighbors in about a 10 block radius and waited on the sidewalk for my mom to finish chatting with every. single. one. of the neighbors, we would pile in the car to head out to the next town to see Grandma and Grandpa. They lived in a tiny little house….barely bigger than my very first apartment. My Grandpa (Square Wheels) would inevitably be on the c.b. squawking about this or that and Grandma (aka Swedish Ivy) would meet us in the kitchen with our Halloween baggies. Those are what I remember the most. They were regular brown paper lunch saks, but to me as a kid they held the sustenance of life. She would always have it rolled down twice and there would be grease marks on the outside. It was the same goodies every single year. I looked forward to Grandma’s treat bags knowing that some of my favorites would be in there. There was 2 cupcakes with orange frosting and some type of Halloween decoration…a spider ring, witch stick, or some type of poker that my brothers and I would later get in trouble with as we poked each other with the pointy end. A handful of each: Mary Janes, Bit o’ Honey, and Halloween foil wrapped chocolate candies. Still, to this day, I love me some Bit O’Honey. Every time I see those little candies, I’m reminded of my Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Halloween and those grease marked brown lunch bags. I remember thinking how much Grandma must love us to make us such treat bags and not just give us the traditional tiny candy bar.

Then there were the weekends out at the lake when Grandma and Grandpa had the trailer out there. Grandpa would take me fishing and we’d bring the blue gills home to Grandma. It was there that she taught me to scale and clean out fish…and cook fresh fish so that I’d actually eat them! I always knew when we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s trailer from the sign that said “If you see the trailer rockin…Don’t bother knockin!”

Then there are little things that were just *Grandma* like:

Her deep love of the color purple.

How much she enjoyed her flowers and the birds. Grandma had a bird clock that would chirp every hour on the hour with a different bird call. She loved the birds and that clock. I’m lucky enough to have that in my living room now…and every time I hear it, I think of her.

Her jewelry and rings that were always coordinated with whatever it was that she was wearing.

How much she loved Grandpa.

The polka!!! Oh how she loved to polka. I remember dancing the polka with her more times than I can count.

Blueberry Pie. Her and I shared a love of blueberry pie and she’d always make one for me during holidays.

Oyster Stew. It was a New Years eve tradition to have oyster stew. Grandma would make it and Grandma, Grandpa, Dad and I would enjoy. (The rest of the family would eat frozen pizza!)

Her giggle and how her eyes would light up when she laughed. And when my brothers and I really got her laughing, how she’d laugh so hard that she’d cry.

Her wet kisses. I’m sure my brothers and cousin will totally agree with me that Grandma’s kisses were of the wet and smacking variety. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

How when Chuck would tease her, she’d jut out her bottom jaw and narrow her eyes at him…till she realized he was teasing her when she’d laugh and say “ooooh you!”

Leaning down to kiss her great grandkids. She loved to cuddle them as infants and as toddlers she’d lean down to kiss them and recently with the older great-grandkids she was almost eye to eye with them!

So as I say good-bye to my Grandma, and others say good bye to their Mama, sister, aunt, cousin or friend, I am reminded that our memories will live on forever of her.

Rest in peace, Grandma. You will be missed.

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