17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Goodbye, Grandma...

My grandmother died last Monday at about 10 minutes to midnight. She was widowed, her body broken and old. But those things didn't make it any easier. She was my second mom and I never really imagined that she would leave. We grew up 15 minutes from g-ma and g-pa's house; we even had our own rooms over there. It was the kind of idyllic upbringing that many people don't have anymore, with grandparents playing a key role in our development.

I could talk to my g-ma about anything. She always told me to confide in her and that she wouldn't tell mom - she never let me down. She taught me to wear lipstick and perfume, how to sit like a lady when wearing a dress, how to flirt with boys. When I went to kindergarden I had an accent like hers (she was Australian) and pronounced so many words the way she did. I liked that I was different because of her. She gave me my first sip of champagne. She and my granfather attended EVERY piano and ballet recital, play, award ceremony, family dinner and holdiay function. They weren't members of the church but came to our baptisms, to hear our talks in sacrament, to hear me sing. When I think of the times in my life that I laughed the hardest, my grandma was present for at least half.

I wore my granmothers wedding dress from 1940 when I got married in 1998. I felt like a queen...and she was so proud she cried.

If you hold up a picture of my grandma when she was 31 and a picture of me today it's hard to tell the difference between us, we are that similar in appearance. I stand the way she stood. I sing the same lullabies to my children that she sang to me. My hair curls up like hers.

When my grandfather died of a massive stroke nearly 3 years ago, I stood at his hospital bed as he lay dying and watched my grandma. She kept looking at the heart monitor, the line growing every flatter and every once in a while she would ask tearfully "Is it over? Is he gone?" I wasn't sad for myself as much as I was heartbroken for her. To lose her beloved husband after nearly 60 years of marriage - what must that feel like?

After he passed, she suffered increasing dementia, strokes, falls, a heart attack that required triple bypass surgery, broken hips. She desparately wanted to die, to join her husband. In the end, we wanted her to go because life had become too much to bear for her. And last Monday night it was finally time. She told my mom a few days before that my grandfather was standing in the room, in his dress blues Marine uniform and was asking her to come with him. He had an angel with him and it was time.

I guess most of us are unprepared for the rawness of death. As this layer of my family is now gone my thoughts turn to the day when my parents will pass away, and what my role will be in their death and affairs. I imagine the heartache of outliving a child, or losing a spouse - these things became more real to me this week as I attended my granmothers funeral and cleaned out her house. Her comb on the bathroom sink, cigarettes on the kitchen table, the Hermes powder she always wore. They are just things now, scents - she isn't there anymore.

I am so grateful for my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and for the faith that I have in it. I am grateful for my husband who has helped me through this sad time. I am especially grateful to have loved and been loved by the remarkable woman that was my grandmother. She left an indelible mark on my personality and I know that she is watching me and my family from her perch somewhere "above".

So goodbye, G-ma. Toodaloo...and love you.


  • Beautiful words from a beautiful woman! I am sorry to hear of your loss. I hope you can always keep your memories of her alive in your mind and heart! It tends to become more challenging with time. She will be right over you for the rest of your time on earth and with you again in the eternities! I feel like I know her because I know you. She must have been a wonderful lady! I am thinking of you!

    Lots of love and hugs.
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 6/25/2006 10:31:00 AM  

  • Oh Chloe, been there, know the feeling. Glad you shared.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 6/25/2006 12:10:00 PM  

  • Chloe - What a heartfelt post. It brought a tear to my eye because my grandma is such a special lady and she is very sick with pnemonia right now. She has suffered with Parkinsons for years. It's just one of those times that whenever my mom calls I wonder if it could be sad news about g-ma. Thanks for sharing a piece of your grandma with us! She sounds like such an awesome lady.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 6/25/2006 03:39:00 PM  

  • Your relationship with your grandma sounds so sweet. I hope mine can develope the same someday when we're a little closer together. I'm so sorry that she's gone. I love how you described sharing the wedding dress and how your hair flips like hers. Brings a smile and a tear at the same time.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 6/25/2006 04:52:00 PM  

  • I am so jealous. Not of your grief, but of the relationship you had with your grandma. My grandmother's all passed away before I was even one. I have always felt like I missed out on something great. It's a big reason we moved back out west. I wanted my kids to have a closer relationship with all of their grandparents.

    I am sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing your beautiful memories of a wonderful woman.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 6/25/2006 05:15:00 PM  

  • I, too, am sorry for your loss, Chloe. This is such a beautiful tribute to your grandma! I hope it was cathartic to write.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 6/26/2006 08:22:00 AM  

  • Jen, it was really cathartic to write. That's one of the things I love about Tales - it is a place to put things close to the heart.

    Thanks everyone for your support - it is much appreciated.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 6/26/2006 08:42:00 AM  

  • I had that relationship with my great aunt, who died. I miss her every day. She's the only person on the other side who I will let in and can draw strength from because she was so strong and I knew she loved me, despite my faults.

    God bless, hon.
    posted by Blogger annegb at 6/26/2006 08:54:00 AM  

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