Six years ago today you left this world and it felt like the last part of my life fell apart. I had gone through some issues that led to me being 2,600 miles away and no way to get back to say good-bye. I haven’t lived a single day since then where I don’t think about you. You were my most constant caregiver, as you were for many. You could be stubborn, but all the best grandma’s are, aren’t they? I can’t get back what I missed, but I can promise to make the most out of my life, and if for no other reason then to honor you.
You came into this world in 1932, during a rather stressful era for our country and you grew up amongst your family in a small town in South Dakota. Soon, however, you and your family furthered the “American dream” by heading “out west” to California. That house is the symbol for our family and every time I see it I can picture you: as a little girl, as a mother, as a grandmother, and finally as a great grandmother. You endured through difficult circumstances as an adult but you never let me see that when I was young. Yet, when I was older you told me your stories and it allowed me to see you as a real, flawed person before you passed on…Many people find out all the “stories” after their loved ones are gone and I am glad that wasn’t the case.
You loved Dr. Pepper/Dr. Thunder slushies, the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Walker Texas Ranger, Kenny Rogers, and anything with John Wayne. You loved to hate and hated to love cats but you never turned them away when they were hungry. I remember that story you told me about the baby kitten.
You were a survivor — of divorce, of cancer, of a stroke, of seizure disorder, of poverty. You lived longer than both your parents had and you left this world without suffering a long period of time, as you feared you would. Your memory stays with me always, reminding me to honor you and do my best to be even half the woman you were. I miss you Grandma.
My grandmother died from a brain aneurysm on Nov 4, 2008. Please be aware of the signs and symptoms, acting fast can be the difference between life and death.