I'll be seeing you...

It finally happened.  We've been dreading this day for years if we are honest.  My Grandma was ninety-five years old, so we've known it could happen at any moment for a long time now.  But today it finally happened.  My Grandma passed away.

As I type that sentence a fresh wave of tears and grief wash over me and I stare out the window.  I've never known what a world without my Grandma looks like.  The flowers still look just as purple and the sky just as blue.  How can someone so special leave the world and yet the world looks exactly the same?  

This is such a bitter-sweet moment because she has been longing to go for decades now.  Anyone who knew her knew that when it was her time to go, she would be doing cartwheels into Heaven. She was just so fed up with life...losing people she loves, losing her eyesight and her hearing, being less mobile.  She loved us, but mentally and emotionally she's had one foot out of the door for a very long time.

So with that being said, I'm happy for her.  This was a beautiful thing and I know she is so happy right now.  But for us?  Those left behind? Today our hearts are broken.

 as a working girl during WWII

It just occurred to me that I will never hear her voice again.  That makes me sad.  My Grandma has been ever-present in my life since the day I was born.  I grew up seeing my grandma nearly every day of my life during my childhood.  No exaggeration.  My family was very close and so I saw my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins often (usually daily).

Most families aren't that close and so don't understand what it is like.  Growing up like that shaped me and shaped my world-view of family life.  That's what I think family life should look like, which is why it is hard for me to be away from my kids or grandchild.

My Grandma had a servant's heart.  She poured herself out for her family.  Even if that meant she was a taxi shuttle for everyone that needed a ride to or from somewhere.  If her family needed it, she did it.  She would babysit, ferry us around, and come to every school performance we had.  I think she was sad, lonely, and tired most of the time.  Looking back, I think that my grandma's love language was acts of service and I honestly don't know how much of that was given back to her...so her cup stayed empty a lot of the time.

When I think of my grandparent's house, I think plastic Easter eggs on the tree branches, lilacs blooming, green grass as far as the eye could see.  Wandering carefree through the field and picking wild strawberries to eat as we layed back and cloud-watched.  Picking beans and peas in the garden.  Shucking corn.  Game shows playing on the TV and in the summer a box fan humming in the background .  In the winter, I have memories of the acres behind their house blanketed in white snow with the rustic old red barn in contrast against it.

Grandma's house meant cookies in the cookie jar (which I still have)...but don't take the last one.  Ice cream from the deep-freeze in the breezeway, but only a little bit.  And if you were good, you could have a small glass of Grandma's pop out of the little bottles in the fridge.

She loved to do crafts and work on puzzle books.  She would always let me sit behind her in her chair and "do her hair."  I'd brush it and get curlers stuck in it.  Looking back now, I know that was probably the only physical touch she was really getting so she would love to have me play with her hair.

She wore rain bonnets and carried hankies and called margarine "oleo."  She loved to go out to eat and shop.  My Grandpa drove her crazy, but she loved him.

She taught me how to sing "Mairzy Doats" ("Oh mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy...a kid'll eat ivy too, wouldn't you?") and we would sing it in the car.

"Mairzy Doats"

I love her.  She was my one true thing.  It was as if she was always there and always would be.  I think I got a lot of my strength from her.  All of the women in my family are strong and I think they got it from her too.  I've seen her cry and want to give up many times, but she didn't.  She was a resilient, get-on-with-it kind of person.  She was always very pragmatic and kept it moving.  She has said to me more than once, "What choice do we have but to keep moving?" 

One consolation I have is that there was nothing left unsaid between us.  I've had several conversations with her about her passing.  Most recently, after my uncle passed away we spoke about it again.  She was so disgusted that "young people" would get taken but not her and then we both acknowledged that it likely wouldn't be long before she was taken from us too.

Me: "I'm going to be devastated when you go."
Her: "Oh for Heaven's sakes Ronica!  Don't you dare be devastated for me! I'll be so happy to go."
Me: "No, for you I'll be happy.  But for me, I will be devastated.  It will break my heart when you go.  Will you come visit me after you do?  Will you come visit me in my dreams?"
Her: [pausing in thought because this never occurred to her] "Well....I would sure like to try!  Yeah, if I can figure out how, I will certainly do that."
Me: "I love you.  And I will miss you."
Her: "I love you too honey.  But don't miss me too much because I'll be okay."

I've never known what a world without my grandma looks like.  The flowers still look just as purple and the sky just as blue.  How can someone so special leave the world and yet the world looks exactly the same?  Maybe it's because she isn't really gone.  No one is ever really gone.  She is still all around us, and always will be.

Laura Jeanne Linden
April 13, 1922 - July 27, 2017

We love you and will miss you.

"I'll be Seeing You"
Billie Holiday 

xoxo v.


Becky Drotleff said…
Beautiful, Veronica...I understand how you feel, I lost my grandmother 4 years ago..and I, like you, cherish every memory...God bless you and your family..here if you need an ear.
Allison said…
What a beautiful tribute! You have such an amazing way with words. Maybe your grandma's passing will signal the return of your muse. She has inspired you in so many ways...so that would not be surprising to me at all. I love you, friend. Praying for comfort and peace for you and your family. Your grandma will surely be missed but she will forever and always be in your heart.
Anonymous said…
Beautiful! Love your way with words
Love you, Mom
Dodi said…
What a beautiful tribute. Im sure she will find her way because she will be walking beside you everyday. Let there be Love.
Heather Williams said…
Oh Veronica. This makes my throat get thick and my eyes well up with tears. Our grandmas are so special aren't they. I love your love for her. She's a beautiful soul isn't she?!

Love you, Heather
wonderfully said Veronica. Your Grandmother is looking down proud of you now. Sorry for your loss and hope that the memories bring some comfort to you. Love never dies.
Anonymous said…
That was beautifully said.. I miss my family. My mom kept our family together. After she past well lets just say the family fell a part. The memories we keep of the ones we lost is what I think keeps them close. This is Frazier.