About my Grandma
Last Monday night I was in the middle of writing a blog post about the baby and the weekend and a bunch of silly things going on. I was about to hit publish when I found out from my sister that my Grandma had passed away from a heart attack. It was such a shock, and I cried there on the couch, saying Oh no, no! and other kinds of things that don't make sense when one hears surprising, sad news. She was in her 80's, and relatively healthy. She had a lot of life left in her, and it didn't seem right that she was gone. It still doesn't.
On Friday morning we left for her funeral in Michigan, where my she lived, where my mom grew up, and where I was born. I got to see my sisters and their husbands and babies, and so much family-- some that I wonder if I'll ever see again. It was all very bittersweet.
She had a beautiful funeral service that included some of her favorite hymns. I cried through them all. The pastor started out his sermon and described her as "soft-spoken."
And I thought, What? No. Not my Grandma.
My Grandma's name was Esther, and took every opportunity she could get to introduce herself as Queen Esther. She was feisty and quick and hilarious, and she didn't seem to be afraid of much. The first time she met Ryan, she sewed up a hole in the crotch of his jeans. He was nursing a cold at the time, and she offered to rub Vicks on his feet. Soft-spoken people don't do stuff like that. But my Grandma did.
She was born and raised on a farm, and had the world's best stories to tell about it. Then, in her teens she moved to Chicago with her sister to make money for their family, and found a job as a secretary in what I imagine to be a Mad Men type of office. She always told my sisters and me about the time a married man in the office slipped her a note and made a pass at her. Then she'd describe how she ripped up the note and ceremoniously tossed it into the garbage can, right in front of the guy.
She dated her cousin (a Gregory Peck look-alike) before meeting and marrying my Grandpa (a Gene Kelly look-alike) ((not too shabby, Grams!)) She had three kids and collected clown figurines and taught me how to make the best brown-butter chocolate frosting in all the land. She sang me to sleep countless times, and once gave me a sponge bath when I was very sick. She always stayed in my room when she'd come to visit, and my closet would smell like her perfume for days after she left.
The last time I talked to her, two or three weeks ago, I admitted that I was a little nervous about delivering the baby. Before I could go on, she rattled off three or four Scripture passages from memory. She had the strongest faith. She made me feel so much better. And then, before we hung up the phone, she promised to buy me a housecoat and nightie for the hospital. Funny little lady.
Now she's gone-- my mom is left without a mom, and I'm left without a very special Grandma. And then, when I start to feel sad, I remember she's in heaven with my Grandpa and my daughter and lots of loved ones. I couldn't be happier for her.