Today is Valentine’s Day, and it would have been your 82nd birthday. A day to celebrate love, and who better to celebrate than one of the loves of my life: my dear Grandmother who taught me so much?
I miss you. Like crazy.
I miss the way you would tell the same story over and over again, even continuing to tell it after I reminded you that I had heard it before.
I miss your deep belly laugh and the way you would walk with your purse tucked beneath your arm, moving so briskly and with such tiny steps that you sort of looked like a human wind-up toy.
I miss how you would keep food FOREVER. How you had a can of cocoa in your house that was probably purchased in the 1970s.
I miss your many funny and quirky moments. Finding you cleaning the roof of your house with a rope tied around your waist, the other end tied to one of the front porch posts. I miss how you thought these contraptions of yours were ingenious, and then laughed at yourself when you realized that maybe they weren’t.
I miss how you referred to all the other seniors in your community as “those old people” as if you weren’t one of them. How you made it known until your last breath that you were not, contrary to what anyone else might think, “getting up there.” And, to be fair, you WERE still pulling yourself up to sit on the kitchen counter the way you had always done…and possibly still gardening in that same hot pink strapless top and a pair of stretch shorts, I’m not quite sure. Oy vey!I miss how you taught me that it’s never too late. How you overcame alcohol and cigarette addiction in order to change your life for the better. It made me respect you and love you more. You showed me that mistakes can be mended and heartaches don’t have to break us forever.
I miss the way you said “ciao, babe” each time I left your house. So much so that I made it my sign off on this blog. It was probably the last thing you said to me. That is, if we discount the phone conversation we had where you called to tell me you pooped and it was all thanks to the laxative I brought you.
I miss how much you made me laugh, even when you weren’t trying to. Seriously. How many people get to say that their last conversation with their Grandma was about poop? That cracks me up…no pun intended. You would have laughed at that dumb joke. I miss that, too.
I just miss YOU, and I know I will continue to miss you, every time I see some older woman driving with her elbow resting in the window of her Mercury. Every time I see a can of Vienna Sausages or a tub of Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream. Every time I look at Oliver the ceramic cat, who you kept by your fireplace and who now sleeps happily next to mine, I will miss you.
But through all this missing I know in my heart of hearts that you are with God in heaven, and that someday when I die yours will be one of the first faces I see in that white light, welcoming me home. Knowing this has made me feel less afraid of the inevitable. Someday, I will die. And you will be there. And you will tell me that same Winston Churchill joke you always tell, and all about the World War II documentary you just watched. And I will listen, even though I know the punchline of that joke like I know my own name, even though I hate World War II documentaries with a passion. Because I love you, and I know these things make you happy.
Thanks for always being there. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for everything.
Until we meet again.