Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Sweet Grandma

I've been away from the blogging world for a bit. A lot has happened. There will be some back-blogging going on. One major thing that has happened lately is the passing of my dear, sweet Grandma Wood.

Grandma had been struggling with end stage Alzheimer's Disease (or at least the doctors think that was it--not entirely sure) for the past 2 1/2 years. It's been heart-wrenching to watch her go through this. Looking back, I can recall the day when I went to visit her and she didn't know who I was. This was the first time of many that this would happen, but it was devastating to me. Grandma and I have always been so much alike. Anyway, I cried all the way home. Then I cried some more to my mom on the phone, and then I went and spent like $150 on new clothes. A little retail therapy I guess.

Over the time she was sick, it seemed that sometimes she had no clue, and other times, Grandma would know exactly who I was. A month or two before she passed, I was visiting her, and as I went to leave I kissed her on the forehead and said, "See you later. I love you." Grandma sweetly replied, "See you later, and I love you, too." I was shocked! This is the first time I had heard her speak in quite awhile, and it would also be the last. It's a great memory for me, for somewhere deep inside of her sick body, I know her sweet spirit was still there. Of course, being the girl I am, I cried all the way home. Don't worry, I didn't stop at any stores.

It's been a heartbreaking process, mostly learning to let go. Letting go of hopes that I had to have my grandma at those milestones in my life. Sisters, I am jealous of you. I wanted to have her there at my future wedding, holding my babies, and celebrating with me. Sharing with her the trips I've been on and places I've visited. I wanted to have her visit my new place, my home. Changing those realities has been hard, but I know that I've been so blessed to have her a part of my life for as long as I did.

I have wonderful memories of my time spent with Grandma. I remember riding in the camper on trips to Bear Lake, playing cards and eating red licorice. Riding in the station wagon, standing on the seats and singing crazy songs. Going to the park down the street to play for hours--Grandma never seemed to mind how long we were there. Playing games of Sorry!, Trouble, Pick-Up-Sticks, and Boggle. To this day, I can't play Boggle without thinking of Grandma. We spent hours looking at old photo albums and having Grandma tell about them. We counted pennies in the penny jar. We spent hours trying on all her clip-on earrings and long necklaces. Grandma always tucked us in for the night and made up bedtime stories that usually involved a frozen pond and ice skating. In the mornings, it was breakfast to order. She would always make us whatever we wanted. Oatmeal, toast and jam, waffles, or french toast. All with a side of orange juice, which we never drank.

Grandma was always dressed up and put together, complete with red lipstick and a purse containing pink Extra bubblegum. You could always ask for a piece. Grandma used to make caramel popcorn just for me because she knew I loved it so. Her recipe is still the best ever.

I always knew that family was important to Grandma. Along with Grandpa, she was always at any important event in my life--from my blessing to my graduate degree graduation--and made me feel so important. Cards, phone calls, visits, and birthdays. Cutting--and laminating--articles about me she came across in the paper. She was always showing she cared.

Oh, how I miss her sweet smile and laugh.
Her tender hugs and kisses on the cheek.
That bright red lipstick smile.

And I know that someday, I will see her again.


Heidi said...

what a beautiful tribute...sorry for your loss

Janica said...

OK- you warned me not to read your blog for a while. So that made me curious and now I am paying the price. I am so touched by your comments and memories of mom. I think among the many ways you remind me of her were a sense of humor, always having fun,your laugh and your smile, looking for ways to bring family together, her singing voice. I just feel so much of her spirit when I am with you. Thanks for this gift. I love you.

Misty said...

MICHELLE!!! I read this and cried my eyes out! I know exactly how you feel. Alzheimer's is a horrible disease, and I know that when my granny does go, she will be so much better off, because she will be in such a better place, but it is really hard to think of life without her. I, too, wanted her at my wedding, holding babies, etc. You are quite eloquent, my friend. Such a beautiful memorial to your grandma.