Good-bye, Grammy

Thu, April 19, 2007


My maternal grandmother, who I called Grammy, died last night. She was 88.

I’m a lucky woman that I made it into my 40′s and still had living grandparents (my grandfather passed away a few years ago at the same age), though Grammy hadn’t really been with us for years.

The doctors said she didn’t have Alzheimer’s, but whatever it was that took her bright eyes, her love of books and crossword puzzles, and the laughter that her assorted grandchildren and great-grandchildren gave her, before it took her body, wasn’t good.

As I sit here remembering her, just having gotten the phone call, I know I’ve been saying good-bye to her for years, but I still wasn’t ready.

In many ways, she was my second mother, being just a week shy of her 40th birthday when I, the first grandchild, was born.

I spent many glorious weeks each summer on “vacation” with a relatively young set of grandparents on their little Pennsylvania farm. Those are the moments I’m going to try to think about today.

The hot days spent splashing around in their little above-ground swimming pool, riding the horses, watching way too much TV, learning how to sew my own clothes and getting dessert at Dairy Queen even if I didn’t finish my dinner — that’s the stuff that my summers were made of and the things I longed to recreate year after year, even after descending into surly teenhood.

Grammy never knew PunditGirl — by the time she became part of our family, Grammy had already descended into the darkness of dementia, not recognizing any family visitors for years. That’s one of the things I’m very sad about today, because Grammy would have loved PunditGirl’s sense of humor and curiousity.

I am hoping that the next few days will be filled with collective family memories, not of a woman whose failing brain prevented her from enjoying the last years of her life, but of a vital woman who always embraced her grandchildren, even after we became adults and didn’t come around for our summer sleep-overs anymore.

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23 Responses to “Good-bye, Grammy”

  1. Mayberry Says:

    My sympathies, Joanne, to you and your family.

  2. Lawyer Mama Says:

    I’m so sorry. We’re never entirely ready for something like that.

  3. PT-LawMom Says:

    I’m so sorry. My Gramy died in January and was beginning to suffer from similar memory issues. It’s not easy. Hopefully you and your family will come together around the happy memories.

  4. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah Says:

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  5. Mamma Says:

    I’m sorry that you’ve lost your grammy, but I’m so happy you have such wonderful memories.

  6. impromptublogger Says:

    I’m sorry about your loss. I never really had grandparents, and my dd lost her last “real’ grandparent Dec. 2005.

    The memory issues remind me of the wonderful Dixie Chicks song “Silent House”. to me that song is the best one on that CD.

  7. Oh, The Joys Says:

    I’m so sorry. I’ll be thinking of you. I lost my Grandfather in February, so I know how it is…


  8. Amanda Says:

    Oh! I am so very sorry. I think you sent me a tender word when my grandfather died a few months back. I remember nothing dulling the ache, but there was a distinct sense of relief that people acknowledged his departure. I am so sorry that you lost her those years ago, and again now.

  9. crazymumma Says:

    Aw. I’m sorry for your loss. I am glad that you have so many wonderful memories of her.

  10. Mrs. Chicky Says:

    My sympathies to you and your family. From your words she sounds like she was a wonderful woman.

    I recently lost two grandfathers but I still have my two grandmothers. I’ll hug them a little harder when I see them this weekend.

  11. Gunfighter Says:

    I’m sorry about your Grandmother, PM.

    Like you, I have been saying goodbye to my last surviving granparent for years… nd like you, I’m still not ready.

    Can we ever be?

  12. Becky Says:

    I’m so sorry.

  13. karrie Says:

    I’m so sorry.

    Both of my mother’s parents are still alive and over 90. Reading your post I am reminded how long it has been since I visited them…..

  14. Pecos Blue Says:

    I am sorry for your loss and have been dealing with the same thing. I will toast your grammy tonight. See my blogg you might find the story interesting.

  15. PunditMom Says:

    Thanks to everyone for all the kind comments. They are much appreciated.

  16. CPA Mom Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this news Joanne. I was never close to my grandparents. I envy and admire you. Your family will be in my prayers. What a beautiful tribute.

  17. Momish Says:

    I am so sorry about your grandmother. I hope you find comfort in having your family around you at this time. It is hard, but you have your memories of her to pass on to your daughter and she will know her as you did, threw your eyes.

  18. Queen of the Mayhem Says:

    I will pray for you and your family. Saying goodbye is something that is never easy to do!

    My thoughts are with you.

  19. Paige Says:

    So sorry for your loss.

    All best,

  20. PunditMom Says:

    Thank you so much for all your kind thoughts. We are all off tomorrow for the funeral. It will be a tough one.

  21. whymommy Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss … how very hard for you.

  22. Shannon Says:

    I am sorry about your Grammy. I watched my Mimi drift away into dementia before she passed away about a year ago. To me it was much harder than losing my father to lung cancer at about the same time. It really is the “long goodbye.”

    I hope your memories of your time with your Grammy bring you and PunditGirl happiness for many years.

  23. Nancy Says:

    I am so sorry, my friend. I am so far behind on my blog reading and just saw this. Please accept my sympathies, and my hopes that you and your family will be comforted by many wonderful memories of your Grammy.

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