5 generations (from right to left: grams, grandma, me, elias, dad)
Earlier this year we lost my moms’ mom and I am truly heartbroken to say that earlier this week, we lost my great-grandmother. She was 92 and lived a very full life.
Grams was one of nine children, seven of whom she outlived. She had four children, three of whom she outlived – my grandmother (dads’ mom) is her only living child. She was able to watch her 10 grandchildren grow well into adulthood, most of her great-grandchildren reach adulthood and even live to see her great-great-grandchildren. The last time I saw her, she was able to hold Elias and I was blessed to get a video of it.
Grams holds a special place in my heart because I feel that I had an opportunity to experience life with her like none of her other great-grandchildren. When my mom and dad divorced, dad lived in Grams’ basement until he was able to move into his own apartment so my sister and I also lived there every other weekend because of custody arrangements.
I have many fond memories of spending the weekends there. My sister and myself would wake up WAY before dad and escape upstairs to find Grams in the kitchen already making our Cream of Wheat or dinosaur egg oatmeal. Many times, it was she who found us climbing onto the counter to rummage around for breakfast in the cabinets. I remember the old outhouse that was originally in use before they got indoor plumbing and the huge wasp nest we found inside it. I even remember the way the bugs flew around the outdoor light when dad would venture outside to smoke, many times taking his gun to deal with the ever lingering skunks. I remember watching Lassie and Black Beauty VHS tapes next to her on her tiny, old tv and I even remember the huge snowstorm of ’95 – I believe it was – and being snowed in with Grams, Dad and my sister.
Grams was an eccentric woman, who never needed help from anybody. She used to make homemade apple butter the old-fashioned way (no crockpot!) until her hands became too weak. She took over house painting when her first husband passed away and was always busy with one project or another. I can still clearly remember driving to her house to plow her driveway after a huge snowstorm and finding her digging herself out with plastic bread bags rubber banded over her shoes and lower legs as makeshift boots. That was my Grams.
Grams, I will remember your piercing blue eyes and your contagious laugh. I will remember the days at your house and the way it has looked since probably the 70s. I will remember your fragile hugs and the way your raspy voice said you called baby chickens ‘peepies’. I will remember your stories and the memories you shared. I will remember your unwavering kindness, your eccentric humor and your endless love. I will remember you.