The picture is of my Grandma and me at a cousin’s wedding. I am a senior in high school. You can see that we were about to hug. Growing up, Grandma was my favorite person in my world. I have written before that I would emulate her with my grandchildren.
What made Grandma so special? She loved us unconditionally. We didn’t have to perform to be approved. We were approved because we were, simply that. She loved all her grandchildren and we all knew it.
Grandma was a funny person. She and Grandpa used to play cards with my parents. I loved to sit and watch her. Usually the girls played the guys. When the girls would set the guys, she was not a humble winner at all. If she had played football she would have been penalized for unsportsmanlike behavior. She would cackle and cackle and brag that the “girls” had beat the guys. The guys didn’t appreciate her winning style one bit. I loved it. She had such spunk.
She was a great one to tease. She had such a twinkle in her eyes when we were teasing her. We loved to get her smiling and laughing at our antics. She had kind of hook nose and when she smiled, the end of her nose would overlap her lips. You can see that in the picture above. She was so cute.
Often when I was at her house, she had her hair in bobbie pins. Lots of bobbie pins. She would take a part of her wet hair, curl it around her finger and put bobbie pins on the curl to keep it in place. Then when it dried, take out the bobbie pins and have curls all over her head. I’ve never understood why. She had curly hair already. That’s who I inherited mine from.
Despite always being in pain from a severely degenerated spine that no longer allowed her to stand upright, she rarely had a bad day when she had grandkids around her. I learned to drink coffee at her table as a young child. Eating with them, I always wanted some coffee too. Grandma would get down a cup for me, fill it almost full with milk and add just enough coffee to slightly change the color, add a sugar cube, and I was happy. I still drink my coffee with milk and sugar added.
Grandma would often call me after I got married. The very first thing out of her mouth would invariably be one of two questions depending on the time she called, “Got your dishes done yet?” or “Got your house clean?” She did the same when she called my sister. She had a higher kind of nasally voice and I can still hear her asking these questions. If I didn’t have either done, I would hurry to get them done while talking to her on the phone.
Grandma had an amusing way of ending our phone conversations. I was always laughing when our calls were over. She simply hung up. No “goodbye” or anything. I would be talking away and realize there was no one there. I would say to myself, “I guess Grandma was done talking to me.” That happened every time I talked to her.
Grandma didn’t drive. She used to walk about a mile, most of it downhill, to the downtown area of our town. She would always stop and visit with me at my job at the drug store. Whenever I looked up and saw her walking in the store, it was a bright day for me. She wouldn’t stay long, just long enough to let me know she was thinking about me and wanting to know how I was doing. She probably asked if I had the pharmacy clean. Just kidding.
For years after she died, I dreamt about her calling me and asking me if my dishes were done yet. I always cherished the dreams because I missed her so much. She had an aneurysm when she was 68 and I was 25 years old. She laid in a vegetative state from the brain damage for seven months before she died of pneumonia. When I would visit her in the nursing home, I would look at her and remember all the love, all the laughter, and feel the huge loss we were all experiencing. She would lay there grunting with her eyes rolling around, moving her head. Tears would run down her cheeks. The doctor assured us she didn’t know we were there, that her brain was too badly damaged. But I think she knew. I think she was trying her hardest to talk to us. I think love, grief and frustration brought those tears.
When she died, I knew she was with Jesus. She loved Jesus and talked about Him a lot during my time with her. No matter the years that have gone by, I still hear her cackle laugh. I still hear her asking if I have my dishes done yet. I still see her playing cards. I see her walking bent over in her dress. I see her smile and I see her love. Always her love. That’s what I want my grandchildren to remember about me. Always my love.