“Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting,” is a quote I have seen on the Internet here and there, and it is hard to argue this unknown author’s point.
Grandparents are distinctly magnificent, but grandmas are their very own special kind of special.
This week I was able to look on the faces that have meant so much in my life, faces belonging to women of great influence in this little life of mine. It was Monday that I posted a couple photos of my grandma on Facebook as a way to wish her happy birthday, even though I’m not sure if those who have passed on are privy to Facebook or not.
Grandma was probably 19 or 20 years old in the photos, which would have put them taken around 1940 or 1941. She was beautiful; though that is something she would never say she was, ever. As someone I know commented on Facebook on grandma’s picture about her beauty, I relayed the same info, telling this person that grandma likely got a good laugh out of being called “very pretty.”
I think she felt her “Roman nose” ruined any chance she had at being pretty.
But seeing the comments coming in all day, seeing her picture so often in such a short span of time, and reading other people’s memories of grandma sure had her in the front of my head every moment, not that she is ever far from there anyway.
She was my favorite person. She was the only person I knew that I was certain had my back no matter the situation. She had unconditional love. She was always, always in my corner. I never realized these things until after she passed, but such is life.
I was with her when she died, my hand on her chest as her body stilled, having expelled its last breath. I had never seen death until that moment, and I didn’t know what to do with it for some time. But as time passed, and grief’s rawness subsided, I felt so very blessed to be by her side when she left her body. I felt incredibly blessed to be the one she was comfortable enough with to let go of her 82-year-old life on this earth.
I miss her every single day. And even though I didn’t have a cell phone when she was around, I still sometimes find myself picking mine up to give her a call.
I also saw two other grandmas on Facebook on Monday — those of my mother’s mother and her mother, too. A cousin posted the photo of my grandma, her sister, and their mother, who was my ornery great-grandma. My aunt later posted a photo of them again, this time on my great-grandma’s 80th birthday in 1987.
It is bittersweet seeing these faces, but even more so seeing all these faces in one day.
“We should all have one person who knows how to bless us despite the evidence, grandmother was that person to me,” said writer Phyllis Theroux.
Same here, Phyllis.
I miss my grandmas dearly. My paternal grandma was a helicopter type that was stuck like glue to me – to all of us grandkids. She loved me, loved us all, like nobody’s business. My maternal grandma wasn’t so much a helicopter type, but a teacher in and out of the classroom. She shared the love of reading and the outdoors with me, passing on the passion to keep pursuing them. My great-grandma, as I said, was ornery and I have lots of giggle-inducing memories of her. Top among those is her always meaning to curse in German, but rarely remembering to do so and letting the bad words fly in English, then she’d cover her mouth and giggle.
They are all passed on, and I like to think their hands are on my life, on the lives of my children, in the doings of all of us left here living on the lives that they began in us.
It’s funny how I don’t remember so much the spankings or the scoldings. I just remember the love. I remember their smiles, their individually bold personalities, their quirks, their joys, even their smells.
The thing is, I would be a vastly different person if it weren’t for these women. And the fact that I have sat here at my desk, performing my duties most of the day with tears threatening to spill is quite all right. Maybe that just means they are a little bit closer to me today, or I am just a little bit more aware of them with me.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.