Monday, May 20, 2013

Great Grandma

Four generations at Christmas-time.

My grandma passed away on Saturday.  We leave tomorrow for the wake and funeral.  This evening while I contemplated packing, it finally sunk in.  As I held Carter against my chest I felt the tears stream down my face and onto his nearly bald head.  While they soaked into the few strands of hair covering his skin, I looked up at his face in the mirror and he gave me a huge, gummy grin.  I felt sad that he wouldn’t remember his great grandma and what a strong and amazing woman she was.  But I know even if he were a bit older, my memories would be the ones that he would remember the most.  Those memories began to flood my mind.  
Meeting Great Grandma for the first time.
Anyone who knew my grandma will recount how she loved to play cards.  At a young age I learned how to be a good sport.  My grandma never purposely allowed someone to beat her in a game, no matter what their age.  She played to win every time no matter what.  One of her favorite games was “Aggravation”.  If you’ve never played it, it’s basically a marble version of “Sorry”.  She played the game not to win, but to knock other players off the board.  She got such joy from knocking marbles back into their home base and would laugh as she did so.  I learned to love having my marble forced back to the start.  I loved the sound of my grandma’s laughter and the joy it brought her.

I am not a good driver and I never have been.  My grandparents had a riding lawn mower and as kids we loved getting to mow their lawn.  One time while I was mowing I cut too close to one of her bushes and sliced down about half of the bush.  The first thing my grandma said when she saw the yard was, “My bush looks smaller.”  I felt embarrassed and explained what had happened.  She replied with, “It will grow back”.  And it did, but it never looked quite the same.  I learned that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s best to just own up to them right away.

My grandma had a pair of slippers we jokingly called my puke slippers.  I guess both times I was sick at my grandparents’ house I threw up on my grandma’s feet while she was wearing them.  She never complained and even joked about wearing them around me.  I learned that no material item ever measures up to love.

I have always loved green lettuce.  Those white pieces are just gross!  I would try to pick out the green lettuce to make my salads.  I will never forget going to my grandparents’ house and my grandma had specially made me my own salad made of only the greenest pieces of lettuce.  I ate too much steak and wasn’t able to eat my whole salad.  I felt horrible, but my grandma didn’t care.  She made the salad to show she loved me and it had served its purpose.

When my grandpa died about 3 years ago, my grandma was a rock.  I never saw her cry, not once.  I know she did, but she never did in front of us.  Her strength gave me strength.  It made it easier to move on.  I know it must have been hard for her, but she did it for us.  I want to be that for Carter.  I want to appear strong even when my heart is breaking.  She never knew how much that helped me and what it meant to me.

There are so many more memories, but those are the ones that really stuck with me.  The ones that helped shape who I am, that taught me something about life and love.  As I stood looking at Carter in the mirror, I felt comfort.  Comfort in knowing that my grandma lives on in me and in Carter.  Somewhere inside of me cells and strands of DNA come from her.  She is part of who I am and therefore  who Carter is, and that will never change. 
Hanging out with Great Grandma.


  1. Oh Liz! I am so sorry! But what a wonderful example! And how lucky she and Carter are to have shared time together. My great grandmother, with whom I was very close, died when I was a freshman in college. Long before Liam, of course, but I have no doubt that she is his guardian angel and when he stares off dreamily at the ceiling, I know he sees Cassie. :) Carter will have the same!

    Also, my grandmother let us driver her riding lawnmower, too. Must be something about Grandmas. :)

    1. Thanks, Sarah! It was such a treat to ride the lawnmower. How fun you did the same thing. Memories of grandmas are so special. I will always treasure them.