Sunday, March 29, 2009

For My Grandma C

Grandma, I am told that I look like you. For a long time I couldn't see it, my mom's features are so strong in my face, but as I have grown I can see your imprint upon my features as well.

I'm sorry that I couldn't accept you when I was four. I didn't understand why you were there and not Grandma D., they didn't tell me that she had been killed by a drunk the day after my fourth birthday.

You tried to replace the blankie that Grandma D. gave me, since I had lost it. To my young mind I thought you were trying to replace her as well. Thank you for trying so hard, I still have the two yellow blankies that you bought me though the silky edge is missing.

I still remember riding up in the elevator at ZCMI's to pick out one of them and riding down the escalator on the way back. I remember many trips to ZCMI's with you, and the way I made you explain to me the difference between elevators and escalators each time we went.

You took care of me Grandma, you made me tuna sandwiches with potato chips and occasionally gave me Yoplait yogurt, the expensive kind of yogurt. My favorite was Pina Collada.

You always broke the butterscotch candies with the back of a knife, I suppose you did it so we wouldn't choke. To me it became a habit, butterscotch candies taste better that way.

You understood little kids, you always had tubs, saved from the margarine, for us to go out to catch bugs with. You painted my finger nails, explaining to me that I should push back my cuticles to make my finger nails grow faster.

We played Bingo and pickup sticks.You always had me make the Bingo game, I guess it was good practice. Plus you had me make Cowboy's and Indian's, for Thanksgiving, from tracings out of a book. I found that book after you died, but I don't know what happened to it now.

I also remember walking down to the bakery on the corner and buying raisin cookies and sugar cookies with you. You were always trying to get me to eat the raisin ones but they made me sick. Plus you always had tick tacs in your pockets and bought me pink peppermints.

I still remember the rhyme you sang when giving us Tic Tacs "open your mouth and close your eyes and I will give you a big surprise." Then you would ask for a kiss, for you and for Grandpa. It always made me mad that I had to give grumpy ol' Grandpa a kiss too.

You took care of Jonathan a lot, to give my parents a break. Plus you used to watch Kelsey after school, though I think it got harder for both of you as you got weaker.

On the way to our family Reunion every year you would have us count cows, horses and we niggled you into sheep as well. Why? Because we got a dime for each of them, if we spotted it first.

Thus travelling the hour ride out to Opher wasn't as bad as it could have been, in fact we looked forward to it. Bumping around in the motor home sitting at the table because there were only two seats up front.

You always made the french toast at the reunion and even up there you always managed to look dignified and lady like.

I didn't notice that you were getting older. Every year you brought us to the Lady's club fashion show. We dressed up and got door prizes. It was always so much fun to have my own little bottle of perfume, Channel No. 5, just like you wore.

Then one year we didn't go. Mom explained to me that you were too tired. I asked if we would go next year, she told me that we might. But we didn't go the next year, I was disappointed, but I had gotten older as well and was busy with my cousins anyway.

You were changing, getting more worried about money, getting weaker. I didn't see you everyday so I didn't know. At my Sixteenth Birthday party you gave me a little necklace, it was a little gold A. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't that and I was disappointed, a little ungracious as well.

You really pulled through for me though when I got married, you bought the invitations, bouquet, the cake and payed for the catering. Too bad I was such a childish little girl because I wasn't nearly as grateful as I should have been. Perhaps I still expected that a kiss on the cheek and a thank you would suffice.

Then not many years afterward your health started to decline. Though you still brought by cookies for the kids, Grandpa drove. I don't know why you did it? Ate so much sugar when you always told us you were diabetic.

I remember that your feet hurt. You would lay in your room with your feet on a pillow and the ceiling fan on. Your hair was still perfectly coiffed by the stylist every week.

Then the trips to the stylist started to lessen. You lay on the couch often watching the shopping network, though you didn't buy anything. When I came to help out and clean you would have me sit with you for a while. I didn't mind, though it made me sad.

As you got sicker you started to have me sing for you. I sang the most beautiful hymns that I could think of as I rocked in the sturdy wooden rocker in the living room. That is until my voice gave out and I got too sad, then I would have to go home.

Dad had me come up and make breakfast for you and Grandpa quite a bit. Cream of wheat with five salt shaker shakes into it, with milk and sugar. Plus dad prescribed grape juice for you, for the antioxidants. I would give you this with your morning pills and you would squeeze my hand and tell me "bless your heart."

I remember the first year that you were in the hospital. It was over Thanksgiving and Christmas time, your favorite time of year. I recorded the kids telling you about their lives, and I brought you a CD of Christmas music "The Little Drummer Boy," was your favorite.

You got out in the spring, but went back again the next year. Then you were out again, all the time becoming less and less like yourself.

Dad asked me to help give you a bath, I thought I could do it. But to see you like that, frail and with all of the scars on your back, it was too much. I wish I could have returned the favor for all the baths that you gave me and all of the lotion rubs that you gave me afterwards.

Then as Fall came you were back in the hospital again, this time was different, you had been slowly fading away for a while now. As though you had tired of trying without all of the things that had made up your life before, lady's club and service, dressing up and socializing. I guess it just didn't seem worth it anymore.

I remember that night. I went in to take a bath and while I was sitting there I had the strongest impression to go and see you. So I finished and dried my hair, put on my nice clothes and went on over to the hospital.

You were laying there, amongst tubes and wires, looking so unlike yourself, your hair lay flat against your head. When I came up to the bed you opened your eyes, blue as ever, and looked at me with recognition.

Suddenly you tried to speak, to tell me you loved me? I don't know. But your heart started racing, the monitor started beeping and I didn't want to get you worked up. So I stroked your forehead and hair. I told you that it was OK, that I loved you, then you closed your eyes and went to sleep again.

Dad called me the next morning, I knew that he would. They had called him very early that day and he had gone over there to be with you as you passed away. I was prepared, but I was also shocked at the news.

Your funeral was a bit of a blur, I remember seeing you all laid out, hair done and make-up applied, technically done like you would have. Yet there was a certain "plasticness" about you. The most overpowering feeling that I had was that it was not you. I was a bit angry about it actually.

I had felt that you wanted us to sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," at the funeral. The impression came and wouldn't leave, plus the song kept repeating in my mind over and over again. To my surprise my parents had the same feeling and had already put it on your funeral program. I didn't know it but it had been your favorite hymn.

It was hard for me to cry, I don't know why. But I did afterwards, when I drove up into the mountains, alone in the car.

Afterwards, and I guess at the funeral too, I felt your presence near mine. It was as if you were trying to get me to do something. Mostly I felt that you were worried about Grandpa, didn't want him to drink and you wanted my Uncle Mo. to read the scriptures... maybe that was just me, worrying about them. It felt like you though, it felt like your voice and heart speaking to mine.

Now when I look in the mirror, I can see your imprint upon my features, and I am glad. You were a true lady, a patriot, and a champion of good. My Grandma C.

1 comment:

Renee said...

This is a wonderful tribute to your grandma.

She is still with you.

You may see her in your own childrens faces some days too.

Love Renee xoxo