Why is grief so difficult? I get the whole sad part and I figured I was ok with that stuff, but when my mom called to tell me Gram had passed, I just went on with my day. Even at the time, it felt really wrong to do that because it totally downplayed her importance to me. But I was so far away and the things my mom was talking to me about: funeral plans, services, what the nurses said... became a nuisance and I could not deal. What bothered me most was that at that time, the hour before I was to go start babysitting, the only memory I could come up with was sitting at Grams kitchen table playing cards with her.
"Were you close?" people might ask.
Let me think....
Did we have heart to heart talks about the meaning of life? No.
Did we log hours and hours together playing cards? Yes.
In fact the running family tease was how she thought I was a genius because I always managed to win at the color matching memory card game we played. She told my Mom that I must be really something to hardly make a mistake and my mom of course pointed out that I was cheating by seeing the colors reflected on the shiny white surface of the table. Well, she thought that was just as smart since it tricked her.
I don't know why I think closeness with Grandma should equal Norman Rockwell pie baking and Thanksgiving Dinners. I mean, we spent a LOT of precious time together, sitting at that white enamel kitchen table playing games and watching soap operas. I don't remember a time when my gram walked without her walker, which made her a readily available babysitter for me. She was there, at her table, always, watching cars go by and sometimes picking up the phone to answer people's questions about fire permits. (My Grampa was the fire chief) For nearly twenty years after she was moved into the nursing home, her table remained in the same place, arranged just how she liked it, until the house was sold and torn down a couple of years ago.
I was so lucky to grow up with my grandparents living right down the street, within walking distance. They lived right on Main street, at the bottom of the hill to our house, so it was a natural gathering spot. On our way home, mom would always stop us in to say hi. Grams sisters Wilma, Colleen and Barbara who lived right in town too, would do the same. Whenever the "Chief's" car was parked outside, some fireman was bound to pop in as well. While tearing down the house was a family decision, it is still sad to make the drive home now and not see the familiar red house. Amazingly, my mom had the patience and stamina to empty out all of the precious objects, before the house was demolished. She saved a lot of great kitchen stuff just for me and I am so very, very happy to have it in my Brooklyn apartment.
I wanted to honor my Gram by posting all of the things of hers I use almost every day. I don't know how she truly felt about any of these things, but just the fact that they were hers means the world to me. I think of you Gram, every time I touch these.
I remember these measuring cups clanking when we opened the cupboard! The pastry blender is awesome.
A slip and my favorite necklace... although Gram didn't know who the pictures were of. I asked her last summer when I visited. It's a big mystery.