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With thoughts of my dad dying in my head, I keep returning to think of my maternal grandmother. She was the only grandmother i was able to ever get to really know. Her husband, my grandpa, died when my mom was 17.
My paternal grandparents died back in the early and late 1980s. I wish I had known my paternal grandpa better – he seemed like a really cool guy, but unfortunately they also lived in Portland, Oregon, so we didn’t get to see them much. My paternal grandmother was definitely not the touchy-feely type of grandma, even when she moved closer to my dad after Grandpa died. I always felt like I was visiting a distant great aunt when I would see her. So when I tell someone about my grandma, it’s my mom’s mom I’m talking about.
If you have someone in your life that you love even 1/16th of how much I loved my grandma, I hope you can write a letter to them today and make sure that they read it., or that you read it to them. Because you never know what tomorrow will bring. So, here goes …
I want to thank you for loving me. For making me feel so special, even from the very beginning. I remember you telling me one time, “It was always you and me. Your mom had your sister by the hand and was holding Jamie, so I would pick you up and carry me. You never wanted to walk when you could be held. So I would hold you.”
Thank you for always tucking me in, even when I was a teenager, when I would sleep over at your house. I remember you would tell me to move toward the center of the bed so that I wouldn’t fall out of it. You would tuck the blankets in so tightly, I felt like a caterpillar in a cocoon. That was always the way you were – wanting to keep me and my brother and sister from getting hurt.
Thank you for having taught me to appreciate the beauty of a sunset. I remember all those times that you would yell out, “Children, hurry come!! Hurry before you miss it!” And we would run to where you stood, looking out your kitchen window at the beautiful colors in the sky. Your eyes used to light up so bright. It’s because of you that I love seeing and smelling bright, colorful flowers and to enjoy the sound of birds chirping.
Thank you for always having that grape Hubba Bubba gum we always liked in your “snack dishwasher” that never worked as long as I could remember. Thank you for introducing me to the wonderful idea for a snack of icing on crackers. Saltine or Ritz, either one was awesome.
Thank you for teaching me to always be prepared and have some food staples on hand. I remember your Reserve Food Cabinet being next to the actively used food cabinet. It taught me to never take food for granted. I know now why you sometimes ate ramen noodles in tomato soup. It wasn’t that you loved it. You just scrimped and saved to ensure we never needed for anything that you could provide.
Thank you for always being such a good sport and putting up with my trash talking your Yankees when I was in Boston and became a Red Sox fan. I remember you used to just laugh and laugh on the phone. God, you put up with a lot! 🙂
Thank you for always being there for my mom and for all of us, especially when times were tough, financially and personally. You left your family behind in Pennsylvania to move to upstate New York to be with us when you could have easily decided not to. Thank you for taking care of my mom when you died, leaving her your house and the security it would provide.
Thank you for having helped shape me into the strong woman I am or try to be, anyway, today. Thank you for always having had that Serenity Prayer on the wall in the kitchen, right next to where we would eat. Those are words I try to remind myself of today when something upsets me – to know the times when something is truly out of my control so that I stop letting it upset me.
I want to thank you for opening your eyes at the end and looking right at me. I remember the tear that fell down your cheek, and I knew you were truly there with me in that moment. I knew you didn’t want to leave me or any of us, but I know you needed to. That’s why I told you “If you have to go, you just go.” I knew you understood what I was saying, and not saying. Thank you for that last gift of special understanding between us. I always felt like we had this amazingly strong bond. We did, didn’t we?
Grandma, I know that some people don’t believe in guardian angels, and if they do exist, that they’re not family members who have gone before you. But I feel like you’re mine. I know you watch out for me. How else can anyone explain the feeling of a hand on my back when I was out for a run once and said aloud, “I think I need a little help.”
I know you visited me in a dream not too long after you died, to give me the message that you were okay. You were in good health. I know it was an actual visit and not just a dream. Otherwise, how could I have felt the way I did when I woke up, and how I feel remembering that, even now?
Thank you for loving me. You made me feel so special. I truly feel that you were my soulmate, and so I know we’ll be together again at one point. Until then, you are always in my heart. I love you.