I met my Grandma shortly after I was born. I was actually lucky enough to have meet all my grandparents hours after I was born. I was fortunate that all 4 of my grandparents were heavily involved in my life and I got to know all of them quite closely. I lost both my grandfathers when I was 15 and then I lost one of my grandmas a few years later. I consider myself blessed to have spent time with all of them hours before they passed.
My final grandma lived much longer. My last remaining grandparent quietly passed away in the early morning hours yesterday. Our 35 year relationship finally came to an end. As I think back, I realize she impacted me in a lot of ways.
Every summer, my sister and I would stay with her and my granddaddy while my parents worked. Monday through Friday my parents would drop us off on their way into work and pick us up on the way home. She would take my sister and I to the library to get books for the week. She was an avid reader and loved mysteries. Her love of mysteries rubbed off on me. She loved Indiana Jones and Rambo. We watched those VHS tapes so much I’m surprised they didn’t break. To this day the Indiana Jones franchise is easily my favorite movies. I believe Rambo is my sisters.
They had a pool and we loved to go swimming everyday. She taught us how to dive and how to jump into the pool without holding our noses. We would regularly take walks around their neighborhood and she instilled in us to stay on the sidewalk so we didn’t accidentally step in dog poop. To this day I make sure to stay on sidewalks. I could talk for days about the silly little things that make me think about her. She would always remind me to brush my tongue.
Growing up she wasn’t big on saying “I love you” instead she would always say “Be sweet.” That was her way of saying “Bye, I love you” and we all knew it. That was her thing. Be sweet. It became a thing to say in our family as part of goodbye. Recently as she was battling cancer she traded “be sweet” for “I love you.”
As her health and mobility has deteriorated in recent years she hasn’t been able to get around and be quite as involved in my life but she has always remained a huge influence and I imagine she will continue to be. I’m sad she won’t get to meet her 6th great-grandchild but I’m thankful she got to know her other 5.
All those summers I spent with her have left a lifetime influence on me. As December 20, 2015 came and went without much notice to most people, it’s a day I will never forget.
Be sweet Grandma, tell Granddaddy hello for me.