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.