It is with great sadness that I share that my grandmother passed away 1 month ago today, July 12, 2022. I will share my sister’s words to try to sum her up: “She truly taught me what unconditional love felt like and I already miss her terribly. She was incredibly sharp, creative, dependable, and unapologetically herself all the time. She was a master seamstress, made the best breakfast spread, and was quite the baker. She loved all things Alaska, any color blue, read books like it was her job, and could solve a cryptogram faster than anyone! She was also so supportive and believed in me when I struggled to believe in myself. She was there for every major milestone in my life as my number 1 fan, and I feel so fortunate that we were able to spend so much of our time together. I could have never prepared myself for the pain that I feel, but am finding comfort in the hope that we will see each other again one day. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate through this challenging time.” She is now with my Grandpa in heaven and I pray to meet again with them some day.
My Grandma and I lived a 15 minute drive apart from each other growing up, her phone number was the first I ever memorized and I looked forward to our almost weekly sleepovers as a kid! Whenever we hung out it included eating out somewhere- Thursdays were fish night, Pavillion, Tripps, Jason’s, Schlotzsky’s Deli, Elizabeth’s, Bear Rock Cafe, Chickfila, Mythos, Olive Garden, Harbor Inn… she was pretty picky, so it was a big deal if you got added to the list! We would go shopping- Friendly Center or Four Seasons, she hated the drive to Wendover! Grandma always had some kind of craft project up her sleeve- cross stitch, quilting, clay, she could sew anything! clothes, costumes, drapes, toys, bedding, holiday decorations! The holidays are so special because we have so many of her art projects to decorate our homes with, my Christmas stocking is my favorite! Grandma always had a game to play- puzzles, word games, Aggravation, Yahtzee and we’d end up watching one of her favorite shows together- Coach, Keeping Up Appearances, Designing Women, Friends, The Cosby Show, the 10 o’clock news… Grandma also deeply instilled upon me her love for reading and we would share book recommendations & Barnes and Noble coupons regularly!
After my time at App State, I moved back home to Greensboro and Monday night was our night- I’d take her grocery shopping, we’d get dinner and hang out until the evening…. this is around the time she became sick with cancer and I was glad to be able to help out with appointments and chemo recovery days, etc. We still got to do all of our normal fun we just had to work it around appointments & sick days. When I was accepted to Duke, she was so excited & took me out to get a new laptop and she was always so proud to talk about my job or whatever I was studying. She was very supportive and encouraging even though my rigorous schedule had to keep us apart more than I cared for.
My Grandma carried through her life with enormous strength, whatever the situation. The way she bravely faced her cancer diagnosis, surgeries and life as a widow were just a few of the examples I was privy to see, but she fought many other crazy battles prior to my existence! & I am so thankful she did 🙂 The only thing that drove me extra crazy about Grandma was her resistance to photos -__- but I will cherish the ones she let me snap!
In March 2021 Grandma experienced her 1st fall at home & broke her hip. I was devastated and horrified for fear this would be the end and she would never be able to move again and we wouldn’t be able to visit regularly due to COVID restrictions… all my fears turned out to be just that- the following picture was taken JUNE 2021 Can you believe it??!! Do you see this woman walking with 0 assistive devices at 87 years old after an inoperable hip fracture just 3 months prior??! I will always be so proud of her for this, she worked so hard & was so determined to get back to running her house, getting her hair done and ditching the pesky, expensive home health nursing assistants annoying her schedule!
& she did just that. June 2021 to June 2022 were a gift to our family that I wasn’t sure we would get… our last year with Grandma as her totally normal self, living 100% independently- minding her home, garden & book keeping. Unfortunately she fell again and declined severely over the last 2 months, moving in with my parents and relying on the family for 24/7 care, but up until her last days she was as feisty and loving as ever. My parents had her up every day- dressed, hair done, sitting outside, drinking her coffee, watching the news. It was heartbreaking to see her unable to do her own thing as she pleased.
As I grieve and work to move forward I will carry with me so many things I have learned from my dear Grandma: keep kleenex in your purse/car always! don’t be overwhelmed to try any new project- you can break down anything & make it yourself, always use lotion after the shower, keep a go to pair of fingernail clippers close by, be prepared! stay safe and aware of your surroundings- always. take pride in your- home, clothing, yard, invest in good shoes, go to school, read as much as possible, support your family & show up for them, save all the good recipes in an organized place, send cards to show you care, stand up for yourself, don’t smoke, and invest in the best hearing aids money can buy!!
The last month, Grandma and our family have received so much love and support from our community. I really appreciate it so much and I have learned so much through this process. I have really really cherished our church family, family and friends during this time. Life will never be the same, but carry Grandma in my heart always as we navigate life without her.