Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Grandma

My Grandma isn't doing so well. We're pretty sure she's had another stroke - a bigger one than normal. Grandma has never been one to bounce back from illness or injury very well. She has given up. We can all tell. We went to visit her on Sunday and it was up there with one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Not because it's hard to visit Grandma. It's hard to see her in her current state. She was so happy to see my sister and I. Especially my brother in law - he's just like Grandpa, everyone says so.  She touched our faces like she was trying to memorize every inch of them. We have a baby shower for our youngest cousin this weekend - I'm sure Grandma is looking forward to that. The only thing she loves more than grandkids is great grandkids.

Grandma and Grandpa on their 45th wedding anniversary.
I'm not exaggerating when I say I can't deal with the thought of losing my Grandma. I've seriously been ignoring it, hoping it will go away. That's the funny thing about grief though, it always sneaks up on you...never really goes away. I read my sister's powerful blog post yesterday morning and my grief hit me like a brick wall. Facing reality when you don't want to, sucks. I've had to stop and start writing this blog post dozens of times because I keep bursting into tears.

My Grandmother is responsible for so much of who I am. I know I get my big bust, fair skin, fine hair, and tendency to sleep in from her. Grandma taught me how to cross stitch, sew on a machine, and use a serger. I can firmly say that I get my love of handmade textiles from her. I've also picked up the fabric and pattern hoarding that goes along with such hobbies, but I like to think my stash is better organized. She taught me to read music, and while I never mastered the piano, I did play percussion for nearly 10 years because of the love of music she instilled in me.

Some of my best childhood memories are from visits with Grandma and Grandpa. When we were young, they'd come up and visit us. I remember them taking us to the park and picking up KFC for a picnic. I don't know what it was but they loved KFC, and to this day I still associate it with Grandma and Grandpa. I remember going down to the farm and spending a week or two there in the summer. We'd take swimming lessons, attempt to golf, play with our cousins, and, of course, sew. I remember going to drive in movies and going to get ice cream. Grandma loves a good ice cream cone.

Grandma spoiled us rotten. Even as kids we were vaguely aware of this. I'm pretty sure Grandma just bought us two of everything because we were so close in age and because Mom divorced when we were so young. It was a little weird, but hey, we had plenty of Barbies at all times so are you really going to question that. I remember Grandma loved going to the casino and loved to share her winnings with the grandkids. Really, she took every opportunity to spoil us all. I have always thought of it as her way of demonstrating just how much she was into being a grandma. She was just gonna do it better than any of those other grandmas.

I don't think she ever missed a band concert or graduation. Had I played sports, she would have been there for those too. Even as she got older and it was harder for her to move around, she'd still make Grandpa haul her around. I moved around a lot in my 20s and she insisted on visiting every new apartment, even when stairs were hard for her. If Grandpa had been around to take her to NYC or Indianapolis, she would have probably made him visit me there too. Thank goodness for camera phones - she loves seeing pictures, especially right now. I don't have any of her and I together that are recent. I need to take care of that this weekend.

I could keep going but you get the idea. She's had a huge influence on my life. This anticipatory grieving sucks. I'm not sure if I prefer knowing it's coming or having it be a surprise. I am happy I will get a couple visits in with her, especially because I was sick over christmas and missed seeing her then. Nothing prepares you for the loss of someone you love. Grief is such a complex and weird emotion, you never know how or when it will hit you. It's almost crippling some days. I thought staying busy or exercising or writing this would help. So far nothing has. I'm not sure if being there with her would make things worse or better. I feel for my aunties who are there with her every day. I'll keep chugging along the best that I can and hope that I get a few more days of quality time with Grandma.

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