My grandmother, 81 years young, left to head back home today. We call her GG ( for Great Grandma). GG came to stay with us the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Now that spring is attempting to break through here in Ohio, GG declared her departure a few weeks ago. Although GG was with us for a little over 3 months, the time feels like it was just not enough. As we said our finally goodbyes this morning, my heart felt heavy and my eyes filled with tears.
My grandmother was THE only solid foundation of love and trust that I had growing up. If I got sick at school, I begged the secretary to call my grandmother. Chances are, I would have ended up with her anyways, pending my mothers mood or ability to process having a sick child. My grandma was one of the first people to know of my first serious boyfriend, my college decision, my engagement and my first pregnancy. She stayed up with me during school to assist with homework, science fair projects and to let me practice my speeches for class. Grandma brought me 2 chocolate iced donuts and chocolate milk the first day of school kindergarten through senior year. Every year, she would make sure that I had a new winter coat and new tennis shoes for school. When I didn’t have money in college for groceries or to pay my phone bill, money appeared in my mailbox. She was at the hospital the day that both of my children were born. GG knows all. Even when I don’t know, Grandma does.
When my Grandpa got diagnosed with cancer in 1999, Grandma and I started writing letters instead of just phone calls. The letters enabled her to voice the reality of what was occurring without my grandfather hearing her. Some weeks we would write daily and sometimes it would only happen a few times a month. We still continue this pen pal relationship. In fact, last night I wrote her a letter and slipped in her suitcase.
Grandma grew up with 3 sisters. All of the girls have names that start with “C” and the middle names rhyme. My grandma is Constance Day. ( she HATES this name… and goes by Connie). ( Her sisters are Carmen Kay, Cherita May and Charlotte Fay )My daughters middle name is Day after GG. Grandma has always been an introvert. Observer. Not one to speak up or speak out. Grandma married my grandfather at an early age and only had a few ” real jobs” prior to becoming a mother. My grandfather was not a stand up guy. The physical and emotional abuse started soon after they were married and occurred much throughout there marriage. He was a raging alcoholic. Grandma still is struggling with finding her footing and her voice since my grandfathers passing to cancer in 2001 ( He died on my 21st birthday). How she could be so strong for me when she was made to feel so weak, I will never know.
GG came to stay with us just in case this winter was bad. I would often worry myself into a frenzy when the temperatures were low or the snow kept falling in winters past. GG does not like to be out in the snow or cold. We invited her up to stay the winter with us last summer and she agreed. She said she was just bored looking at her walls anyways. (No way she was bored here with these gremlins running around!) GG and the kiddos have developed an even closer relationship. They have there own routines and activities they like to do with one another. I also had the privilege of spending some one on one time with her out to breakfast, lunch, movies, talking or just playing Scrabble while drinking tea. She would tell me stories of the days of being a mother to two kids herself or a funny story involving her sisters.
This time was precious. It doesn’t seem like it was enough. When we pulled out of the driveway today, my heart stopped. One day I won’t have her on this earth with me. I can not even wrap my brain around this concept. Until then, I will embrace these memories with the strongest grip I can muster, while counting down the days until I see her again.