This past Friday, at 7:00 P.M., my grandmother passed away. She was 86 years old.
Though my mother has never been a favorite of mine, her mother was a very sweet lady. I often wondered how it came to pass, that a woman and her daughter could be so different. Of course, when one lives in misery, the grass always seems greener, I suppose.
My grandparents didn't live close. We only saw them once a year or so. But, every single time we walked into their home, things were the same. Predictable. Normal. Something we longed to have.
Grandma was a heavyset woman. I never thought of her as fat though. The word "fat" tends to bring to mind a person that is lumpy and sloppy looking. I like the word "rotund" much better. She had amazingly long grey hair, which she didn't cut, for religious reasons. She always wore it in a bun. She never wore slacks and always sported an apron, when doing her daily chores.
Every Saturday, she would bake a cake and hide it on a shelf in her closet. The next day, after Sunday dinner, she would carry it into the kitchen, a slight grin on her face, as if she had fooled everyone. We always pretended to be surprised. Sunday dinner was always stewed beef, creamed potatoes, some other vegetable, and biscuits. Always. I loved going to their house on Sundays! That was and still remains, my favorite meal.
Slowly, as times changed, little things began to change with my grandparents. In the 80's, Grandma became addicted to Pac Man. We all laughed at this, as it was so unlike her. Of course, she never let her chores suffer, so Grandpa didn't mind. Her other pastime was to sit with a pen and magazine and go through it, circling each letter of the alphabet in turn. First, every "a", then "b", and so on. It kept her mind sharp, I suppose.
Years went by and we all started our own families. As our grandparents were so far away, we rarely saw them. Eventually, Grandpa developed dementia and had to be placed in a home. He passed away a few years ago. Grandma was by his side, every single day, right up to the end. About three years ago, Grandma broke a hip and had to go into a home herself. My aunt lived close and went by each day. Grandma even had a personal nurse, along with the staff at the home. Somehow, even with all those folks watching her, she developed a fourth degree bed sore and the infection killed her. It is so heartbreaking that a good person, that always put others before herself, should have to die in such misery.
Goodbye, Grandma. You did good.