I love the day because it's my Dad's birthday. He is one of my favorite people, and I'm so thankful that he is my dad. I've learned a lot from him, and appreciate him more than words can say.
|Yeah...we're nerds :)|
It is also a very difficult and emotional day for me. On December 6th, 2008, my beloved maternal grandmother passed away.
It's hard to explain how much I loved my grandma. It's almost like she was a soul mate to me, if that makes sense. Life felt complete when she was around, and something was missing if she was gone. I got my love for baking from her; I don't think I'm as good as she was, though!
Yesterday I was reminiscing about her and remembered an essay I wrote about her in high school for an English college course I was taking at the time (11 years ago! Crazy.). I dug the essay out today, and thought I'd share it:
She stood there, alone. Her green outfit stood out against the dull gray and brown of the street. Her short, curly brown hair with the slightest streaks of gray gleamed in the sunlight. Her eyes shone behind her thick brown plastic glasses. Her face was wrinkled, but still as beautiful as the pictures from many years ago. She has an oxygen tank in one hand; it's the only way she can breathe normally anymore. Her hands tremble now, and she's on many different medicines to help her weak heart. But she still smiles through it all.
I walk up to her, and she turns to me. She starts to cry. She tells me I'm her favorite grandchild; I find that amazing as there are about twenty five of us, but I'm sure she tells us all that we're her favorite. She stiffly bends over and gingerly places her oxygen tank on the sidewalk. She places her hands on my cheeks and cries harder. She tells me about when I was young and I'd go to her house while my parents were at work. I'd go to her fridge, as for some orange juice, and then curl up next to her on the couch while she read me my favorite book. She says how much she missed me when they moved to North Carolina when I was three. She then starts talking about how beautiful I am, and what a good kid I am. She says she's proud of me. The thing is, I always hear this from her, but something tells me that this would be the last time I'd ever hear it. It scares me. It really does.
She has been there for me since day one. After she and my grandfather moved to North Carolina, they would come up every summer to visit. She'd always have special presents for me; I was spoiled! We'd always cry when she'd have to leave. She knew that she might not be up the next year, but I was too young to understand that. But somehow, through her fears and worries, she'd make it back up for another visit, until they stopped as they couldn't handle the drive up to New York again.
|A visit with my grandma in 1989|
Now that I'm older, I cherish every second I see her, which is not that often. This summer was the first time I'd seen her in three years. The only reason we saw each other was for a family reunion in Ohio. She hasn't changed much, though she is thinner and weaker than last time. When I saw her the first night there, she was full of energy and life. She looked so young! By the time she left, she was weak and could hardly stand on her own. The trip and seeing all of her seven children and many grandchildren really wore her out. We all knew subconsciously that this was the last time she would see everyone at once, but we were too afraid to say anything to her because we didn't want her spirits to be dampened.
When we said our goodbyes, we were both crying. I kissed her cheek and helped her into the car. As she and my grandfather drove away, it was I too who realized that this might be the last time we'd ever see each other. There may be one more visit, like there always has been in the past, but I guess only time will tell.
I was able to see my grandma one more time after that visit. I regretted not making the time to see her more often, calling her, writing her a letter, or even sending an email to her to let her know how much I loved her. I was always afraid it would be the last time, and if I put it off for yet another day, I wouldn't have to deal with the emotions of thinking it would be 'the last time'. I kick myself almost every day; what I wouldn't give to hear her voice again!
Make the most of everyday; make sure the ones you love know it!