Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of my grandmother's passing and I can already tell it's going to hit me very hard. I've been thinking about this day coming for weeks now and the closer it gets the more I feel it. My grandmother died of congestive heart failure on February 13 at around 1:00pm at the age of 93.
My grandmother was born on April 3, 1920 and she was the oldest of 10 children. She was married to my grandfather for nearly 55 years before he passed away in 1995. My mother was their only child and she passed away in 2005. So, here I sit on this day with the memories of not only my grandmother but my grandfather and my mom and right now, it's a little too much to bear but I will because really there is no other choice.
I remember the last time I saw my grandmother. Her eyesight and memory were failing and as I walked into her room, she just sat there and stared at me for a second. As I came closer to her, she said to me in a very soft, sure voice "I know your face" and I started crying because the thought of her not being able to remember me was devastating. We had a bond more like mother and daughter than grandmother and granddaughter so if she no longer had those memories of us, I am not sure I would have been able to accept that. We talked a lot about things we had done together and our favourite memories were of when she would come home after work. You see my grandparents and my parents shared a house. My grandparents lived downstairs and my parents and I lived upstairs. Every day after school, I would sit out on the step and watch for my grandmother's blue Impala to come down the street and pull into the driveway. I was just so excited to see her. We would go into the house together and she would change into her after work clothes and we would make a snack in the kitchen and then go into the living room and talk about our days. We did that every day for years and I loved it. We went shopping together and camping and to McDonald's. She taught me to cook and to sew and even to knit. We even caught frogs together when I was about 7. She carried the pail and I caught the bullfrogs. We were always together.
I remember the last words my grandmother said to me. She had never met my husband so I was telling her all about him and she looked me straight in the eye and said "Does he love you?" "Yes, nanny he does." "Does that boy make you happy?" "Yes, nanny he does." "Is that boy good to you?" "Yes, nanny he is." "Then I am happy for you both and that's all I can ask and I love you."
While not having my husband here right now has left me feeling at a loss, there is something that he said to me the night my grandmother died that I have never forgotten. He said "your memories of your grandmother are your own and nobody can take them away from you. You need to remember her in your own way. Her body may be gone but she is always with you."
So, while tomorrow will be a difficult day for me, I do take comfort in knowing that not only are my grandparents and my mother always with me, but that this will be the last anniversary I will spend without my husband and that can get me through anything.