Twenty-one years ago, today, my Grandma T died from ovarian cancer at age 51. I cannot even begin to express how much I miss her…
I had no idea what she meant when she told me I would be staying with my aunt and uncle for a bit. I remember the conversation vividly. I was seven and my mother had just gifted me a Super Nintendo. As my frail and thin Grandma laid on the couch telling me that I would be living with them for a bit, I naïvely asked if I could bring my Super Nintendo with me. I did not process that she was saying goodbye. I mean I knew she was sick. I was the only grandchild that did. I showered with my grandma, so it was hard to miss the massive staples in her stomach or the hair falling out in clumps. I went wig shopping with her, but I made no connection of the severity of her sickness or that it would eventually take her life.
Living with her was the only normalcy I had between my teenage mother and my abusive aunt. She was the strongest link in our family. She worked her way from the bottom to the top at a credit union, quit smoking cold turkey after I was born, raised four children who in turn gave her five grandchildren. My grandma baked goodies and cooked dinner, walked me to school every day, entered me into talent shows and fairs, and made all my holiday dresses and bows. You know the typical grandma stuff. She even painted her house pink, yes PINK! because it was my favorite color. Any time I would have a tantrum she would hold me and rock me to sleep. She never gave up trying to show that she loved me. No matter how much of a terror I was.
Some of my grandest memories were when we scavenged garage sales looking for puzzles that caught our eye. We knew most puzzles would be missing pieces, but we didn’t care. We still enjoyed the hunt. I miss being nestled in her lap, separating edged pieces from the middle pieces. She taught me how to look for color patterns and shapes to match pieces up. It was a methodical process and I had to learn patience. Sometimes I would try to jam them together, but she would gently take them a part and show me why they weren’t working and continued solving the puzzle. I wish I had never taken those times for granted and been such a selfish brat when she was alive.
Grandma, I know you are with me everyday. I miss you and hope one day I can embody the woman you were to me, our family, and the rest of the world.
Rest in Peace, I forever love you.