I remember the way she laughed. With her whole face and body. When she was really tickled by something, she’d stomp her feet and clap her hands in utter joy.
I remember that there was nothing more satisfying than making her laugh like that. She made me feel clever.
I remember the way her eyes would light up and her face would break into a smile when she saw me walk through her door. My grandma was a woman who loved people and she especially loved her grandchildren.
I remember knowing that she was always elated by my company and that there was never a bad time for a visit. She made me feel special.
I remember spending summer days at grandma’s house, swimming in the pool, playing “grocery store,” making fluffernutter sandwiches, pretending to do gymnastics. It was a second home to me.
I remember that Grandma always had time to play with me and teach me new things. She made me feel loved.
I remember the sound of her rocking chair and the pitch of her voice as she sang to me and rocked me to sleep in her arms. I can still picture that faded red rocking chair and darkened room and young grandma, even 25+ years later.
I remember how comforting her hugs were and how quintessentially grandma she was. She made me feel safe.
I remember how she would pray over me when I was scared or feeling upset. Her voice would be strong and held no doubt that she believed wholeheartedly in her words and in the God she was praying to.
I remember how much I ached to be the kind of woman of faith she was. She made me feel awed.
I remember how she would fight for me when my mom was doing something that I found to be annoying. She always supported her daughter and the decisions she made, but she also fought for me and the things I wanted.
I remember how good it felt to have someone in my corner, fighting for me. She made me feel supported.
I remember every holiday meal that my grandma hosted and how she would only sit down after everyone had been served. Serving people was grandma’s most favorite thing to do.
I remember the one Thanksgiving where she had to be served, rather than serving others, because she had just finished up chemo and was still really weak. For once, I got to serve her and there was no greater honor. She made me feel blessed.
It still doesn’t feel real that grandma is really and truly gone. I won’t ever see her again. I won’t ever hear her laugh or say my name in that surprised-yet-delighted way when I walk through her door. I won’t ever get one of her all-encompassing hugs or feel the comfort of her prayers or listen to her tell me a story about her past.
It’s been a year since we said good-bye to her. A year filled with “griefstones,” as a friend put it. My first birthday without her, our first Thanksgiving and Christmas, her first birthday she didn’t celebrate, the first wedding anniversary she wasn’t there for. Some days, I feel overwhelmed with my grief. Everything just hurts and everything just feels so unfair. Every time I pass a white-haired lady in public, my heart races and my stomach twists because it just makes me miss her even more. She was truly the perfect grandma in every sense of the word and I don’t know how to exist without her.
But even as I grieve, I know she is in a better place and I know I will see her again. She was my everything and I feel so blessed that I got to call her grandma. I feel grateful that I got 28 years with her as my guiding force and that she taught me so much. I could only hope to have the kind of impact as she did. She was truly one of a kind.
“And as Your mercy falls, I’ll raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.”