Today was my grama's birthday. I have been thinking about her a lot the past few days. Birthday's were VERY important to her. She believed everyone should have a cake on their birthday, no matter the age. Many of you know that my mom died at age 61. Her death quick, unexpected, from cancer. My grama was 87. My mom was in the hospital for 14 days. My grama would sit with me by her side for hours and hours. I would drive her home at the end of the day and we would quietly talk about things. She refused to accept that my mother, her daughter, was going to die. She continued to talk about her coming home and taking care of her. One of the hardest things I had to say to her was "gram, mom is not coming home, she's not going to get better". Who would think that a mere 8 months later, my gram would be diagnosed with the same dreadful cancer. I sat by her side, my daughter joining me. She passed at 88 and we never once spoke of the fact she was going to die.
Grama was born in 1913. She was the first born to her parents. Her parents young and in love. Her daddy died when she was 17, her sister was 15 and her brother 13. She never spoke of those years, never. I am sure there are things that happened she just didn't want to remember or talk about and I never pressed. Her mother remarried and presented her with an evil step-father and a baby brother whom she loved. She met my grandfather and fell hopelessly in love. He had come from Canada with him mother and new step-dad. They married and had my aunt in 1930, followed by the loss of a baby boy, and then my mother was born in 1934. I'm sure her heart was breaking when my mother INSISTED on getting married in 1955 at age 16! The following year I was born..a baby to a baby. My grama was only 43. I was her princess. As soon as I could walk and talk I wanted to go with her constantly. There are family movies of me "sneaking" to hide in their backseat to go home with them and sleep in the "princess bed". I grew up with my grama, her sister, brothers, my aunt and us all living in the same block! My great-grandmother lived on the family farm about 2 miles from us all. The days and years were filled with visits, coffee, swimming, and lots of laughter. In 1970 grama's mom passed away. She had a stroke and everyone was shocked. I was 14, my grama was 57. In 1972 my parents divorced and we moved back home with grama and grampa. The house was filled with women and one bathroom..my poor grandpa! We moved out in early 1974 to have a place of our own. Grama was upset, but grampa retired and they kept busy visiting and traveling....one month later, my grampa died of a heart attack, he was 61, just a couple weeks from his 62nd birthday, grama had just turned 60, I was 17. The world was upside down and grama was lost. We packed up and moved back "home" with her. We spent our days....4 females, hurting from our loss and moving on. I graduated from high school and we made my college plans. The days passed and in 1976 grama's younger sister passed away from cancer. Another little piece of her died. In 1983 I presented grama with her first great-grandchild! Her life was renewed! He was "her boy" she was his "grama in the white house". I quit work after his birth and gram spent almost every weekend at our house. We even redecorated our extra bedroom for her and called it "grama's room". Our daughter followed in 1986 and when I moved back to my dad's family homestead in 1987, I was back within a mile of grama. Since I was a stay at home mom, we had wonderful days. My mom, aunt, cousins, laughs, coffee, shopping, just like when I was young. I went back to work in 1996, gram was 83. I started to notice she was getting older, slowing down! I began to realize she was not going to be around forever. It made me sad. She was a wonderful role model. She had a good sense of humor, was afraid of the dark, worried a lot. She drove a turquoise 1967 Mustang until she turned 77. She spent 2 months with my husband looking for a "sporty" replacement, her Dodge Dakota Fastback. She was not afraid to say her mind, give advice, or tell someone off. One of her favorite sayings was "If it's not worth asking for, it's not worth having".....I use that quote myself!
For some reason this week has been a hard one for me. I realized today that I never took the time to mourn my grama, we hadn't even gotten over mourning my mother, when she passed. So this week I have been mourning and missing her.
So grama here's to you on your day!
Grampa, me, grama 1958
Grama and I - 1982
Four generations - October 1983
Grama and her "boy" - June 26th, 2001