When I saw my dad’s name on my cell phone come up, I knew the time had come. He called me last night to tell me that my beloved grandmother peacefully passed away yesterday evening.
I thought I’d try out, on you my kind blog friends, a letter I wrote to my grandmother a few years ago, that I planned on reading at her memorial service. My parents would re-read it to her every so often.
I wanted to write to tell you how important you are to me. As a girl, the long trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house was always rewarded with Grandpa smiling at the door as we pulled up and the good smells and hugs that met us as we came in. Your house was always a haven of fun, and not just because of the closets you let each of us have as our own personal hideaway (and I kept searching mine for the entrance to Narnia). It was a loving atmosphere, filled with momentos of family heritage and enough playing cards to make card villages. And while I don’t know that I ever made good on any of my threats to my parents that I would report them to you for child abuse, I’m sure if I had, you would have regarded me with seriousness but good humor. And convinced me the world was not over.
Grandma, I want you to know what a tremendous influence you’ve been to me. First, on what a woman can accomplish from a life and career perspective, while still maintaining class and dignity. From your early days living upstate, oops, I mean Westchester, commuting to Manhattan, to getting your masters and establishing a career helping other children feel the love that all of your grandchildren feel, you reinforced to me what women can accomplish in their career and that I need never be held back by my gender.
Next, as a wife and mother. While most of my memories of you being married to Grandpa were you regarding him in good humor and love, you clearly gave a good example of marriage. Nuggets of it can be seen in the role model my parents have set to Becky and I. And you raised Dad to be a great man who has turned into a great father, grandfather and role model to me as well. You demonstrate to all of us the importance of family and their relationships.
Finally, as a person. More than anyone I know, you truly care about other people. You are so genuine that it seems to radiate from you. There is a reason so many pictures of you laughing have your mouth open; you don’t hold back your joy. You show me that I should live, laugh and love fully and deeply.
I’ve always considered myself the luckiest of my cousins to have lived with you and Grandpa. The daily reminders of your love helped make a difficult time, being a teenager and moving to a new state, more bearable. Thank you for being such a great, loving influence in my life.
I love you, Grandma!