Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Gramma

Gram passed away on April 15th. She was 90. She'd had a stroke in early March and was in the hospital for a week or so, then in hospice, and then it appeared she was getting better. She went through some rehabilitation with movement and speech and when I went to see her she kept talking about how she wanted to go home to see her "kitty-cat". Her speech was still a little shaky - you could only understand a few words out of every sentence. When I first walked in she said, "Karen - you look so big." Then she and dad started commenting about how my hair was black - which it had been for a good 6-8 months. She hated my hair short and dark. She asked about the family ring she gave me at Christmas and I told her it was in my jewelry box. I hadn't worn it to work that day. When it was time to go, I told her I loved her and gave her a big hug and she said she loved me too.
The next day or so my Aunt said that she'd taken a turn for the worse and things weren't looking so good. A few more days and she was back in hospice. She wasn't acknowledging anyone's presence - wasn't opening her eyes for anyone or talking. My mom visited her on Easter and said it would've been tough on me to see her like that - like it had been seeing her at the hospital right after the stroke. She said it was better for me to keep the memories of my spunky little poofy white haired granny, so I didn't go back to visit her after that. She'd been telling the family that she was ready to go be with God and Grandpa and my brother and she wanted to get to know her father who had passed away when Gram was just a baby. She was ready to move on. So, on April 15th she went. We had a memorial service for her on the 17th. Today we went over to her house to help pack up some things and to pick out and take home things we wanted to keep that reminded us of her.
She had this oil lamp that had a bathing goddess statue in the middle of a fishing wire cage with fake foliage around the bottom. When you turn the lamp on, oil heats up and beads down the fishing wire making it look like a shower. I loved that lamp when I was a little girl and would always turn it on when we went to visit. So now I get to hang it in my house.
Gramma had taught all the grandkids how to fart with their armpits, a skill I've since let go by the wayside. I did attempt it the other day - first time in years and the fart noise was a bit weak but I bet with a little more practice and some work on my technique, it would come back to me. Like riding a bike.
When I was a kid, I'd go stay with her & Gramps during summer break. She always bought me a new barbie doll and she made a ton of barbie dresses - even a mermaid tail by request. She and Grampa would always take me to Long John Silvers since I liked fish and my parents didn't. She'd ask for extra crumbs for me and when I'd eat them she'd tell me that she could hear them through my ears. When I was older, Long John's was replaced by Sweetwaters - we would still order fried fish but the atmosphere was fancier and on the water. That place closed a few years back.
She was a quilter and made me 3 quilts. One's a pink flower print quilt and another is a Holly Hobby quilt from when I was itty bitty. The other one she made when I was older - black and gray squares like a Qbert board.
4pm was always cocktail hour and Gramma drank highballs. Whiskey and 7up. When I was 22, I was at a charity event that had a limited open bar. They had whiskey and 7up so I figured if my Gram could drink them, so could I. I couldn't have been more wrong. The toilet laughed at me that night and my Gram laughed at me later on when I told her about it. I've never attempted one since then and can only drink whiskey if its mixed with cran in a washington apple.
When Grampa died on April 16th, 15 years ago, she was a rock during that time and said she'd miss him and that they'd had a wonderful life together. She got very comfortable in her independence after he was gone and enjoyed living in her house and raking leaves in the yard and working on quilts and had weekly lunch dates with friends and kept up with her hair appointments and went to the mall.
You can imagine that going to the assisted living center after her stroke didn't sit well with her. She wasn't used to being told when and what to eat and where to be at what time.

So I am glad that she's gotten her wish to move on. She's at peace and is happy.
We will miss her greatly.
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