…a day you’d rather forget
That’s easy…March 2nd, 2010.
My grandmother passed away…
She’d had two back to back heart attacks one early Saturday morning…and never recovered. She was 81. I was heart broken.
I woke up that Tuesday morning…and instead of readying for work, a sense of doom fell over me and I sat on the side of my bed in a trance. My heart knew what my mind didn’t want to face…today wasn’t going to be a good day for her.
My sister called me and said that my father had summoned us to the hospital…that it didn’t look good. I already knew that. I got dressed and we went to Mt. Vernon Hospital.
She’d died just moments before we got there.
I went to her bedside and hugged her and cried the hardest wail I’ve ever cried. Her body was there. The machines were moving her chest as if she were breathing. Such cruel necessity.
I was never the same.
Our family was never the same.
I still think my father has lost what small piece of mind that the drugs and alcohol didn’t claim before his sobriety.
We’re a lost clan today…at least on the paternal side.
Yea…that’s all for now.
For the longest time…I had TWO grandmas. I was so proud of that. I didn’t know my maternal grandfather. My paternal grandfather…I knew barely. So, I loved that I had a power duo of the grand kind!
Growing up, my grandmothers from time to time hung out…drinking Miller beer in front of my maternal grandmother’s store front walk-up apartment. Not too long after they’d both find God and become Christian women deeply seated in their churches’ congregations. For as long as I can remember, they attended church for the most part and took care of their families.
My mother’s mother. My earliest memories of her are when she’d babysit for me while my mother was at work. She and my mom’s only sister, Iris…would take care of me and my younger sister. I remember Apple Jacks at her breakfast table and playing in her living room with my cousins and uncles…the latter which were only 7 & 8 years older than me. My “Grandma Catherine” as I’ve always called her when differentiating, was always the sterner of the two. She to this day…is a hard nut to crack. She can be downright mean at times…some would say evil with the things she’s prone to say. Yet, with me…I’ve learned to love her past those things. She can be tender and caring…but it takes a little cajoling and a lot of understanding. I’ve always been straight no-chaser with her…not allowing her to get away with some of the things that make it hard for some to connect with her. I do see her softening a LITTLE with age, but she’s still got that Taurean bullishness that can sometimes push folk away.
Lately, all I can do is take each moment I can with her…especially since. I’ve only got ONE G now.
My father’s mother. She died this year. March 2nd, 2010. I’m a LOT better than I was. Some days I woke up crying…and fell asleep that way. I have to admit that each time it wasn’t JUST my grief…but, the other things were just weights on top of a ton of pain. When she left here…a part of me left, too.
My earliest memories of her were in her apartment in the projects. Sometime ago, the projects was a beautiful, green, gleeful place. Where she lived, kids played freely. Parents watched over all of the kids…not just their own. No nonsense was allowed…if you weren’t supposed to be in that playground (read: no pervs, thugs, etc.) …you were told to go. It was a place where the kids could play outside AFTER the street lights came on…and I miss that in today’s communities. I lived with her for a long time during my grade school years. My lunch box was filled with FOOD. Not a sandwich (which sometimes my kid mind preferred)…but, I’m talking a warm cheeseburger and chocolate milk. I’m talking a meatloaf sandwich with cheese. I’ve lunched on BBQ chicken wings. There was always a Twinkie or a Hostess cupcake in my lunch. Damn, I realized that she might have contributed to my “thickness” as a child. LMAO. Funny thing…I was a celery and carrot stick girl. I loved granola bars and oatmeal. To this day, I can’t stand processed sweets. If it’s not homemade, I’ll bypass it. I definitely prefer a pear to a pie…but, watching grandma…I learned to love the WAY pies were made. She made her own dough, just like she made her dumplings fresh. Her spaghetti sauce was homemade and she rarely bought a frozen entree. “Grandma Gunn” as I called her…cook put her foot in some mac-n-cheese and make a kid love green beans.
When I got older, I could call her and discuss anything with her. She taught me to be a loving kind individual. She taught me to not spare the words “I love you” to those that meant the world to me. Her laugh echoes in mine and her legacy is in my face. Some days I ache for the sound of her voice. I somehow thought in my mind that she’d always be here…and I found out that grandmas DO live forever…just not here on Earth.**
Now, that she is gone…I’m down one grand…I used to roll with TWO G’s. Now there’s only one. That’s okay…I’m still rich. 😉
I love you, Josephine Gunn. I love you, Mary Monroe. Two sides of the same kween. hehe.
**Addendum. (mental note: Don’t blog while talking on the phone) LOL
I’ve got to blog this out before I implode…picture to come later…
Yesterday on March 2nd, 2010, between 1 and 2pm…my paternal grandmother, Josephine…died.
To say I’m devastated to my core, is an understatement. To say that my heart and soul physically aches…is speaking lightly. Yes, she was my favorite person in the world. I love my mom and dad…yet, the truth is that growing up…when their relationship was unstable and I felt lost as a child…she was an anchor. I learned love…how to love, how to receive love, how to be a lady and how to be cherished. I got that from my grandmother, who never let a day pass when we were together without saying, “I love you”.
She called me Baby Love…among other names throughout my childhood. (I will not share them just so you all can laugh at me, lol). I have some GREAT memories of my grandmother. I learned to love coffee because of her. She wouldn’t give me my OWN, but she’d give me a few sips here and there. (In her beer drinking days…I’d steal sips of her Miller) LMAO
Her and my mom’s oatmeal run neck in neck. Perfect consistency with applesauce and every now and again…raisins. She ALWAYS had cake mix and on demand would make one for me. She had the private stash of Krasdale sodas (what you know about that?) and indulged my love of novelty cereals. I was telling my girl, Joy…that my grandmother would prepare a picnic for my friends and I. We lived in the projects in Mt. Vernon, NY…in an era where it was perfectly fine for your kids to play and be safe. My grandma would make me Kool-Aid (the red flavor) and put it in a jar. Make PB&J’s cut into fours, give us carrot and celery sticks, Twinkies and pop-tarts…all to sit under her window on a blanket behind the benches. She’d watch as we had a blanket party and played with our dolls.
She was the only person I knew for the longest who made scratch rolls, that were so good…she had requests throughout the buildings for them. She made her spaghetti and meatballs with her own homemade sauce and she kept Parmesan cheese because I wouldn’t eat it without it. She was the beginning of my love of cooking.
My grandmother was my best friend. She was understanding and nurturing. She’d give me the truth, but she’d also support my decisions. When I was in a relationship no one else agreed with, she supported me and embraced my ex. To this day, he loved her dearly…and she him. She’d always tell me when she saw him and spoke so sweetly of him. She knew that keeping me at arm’s length would only alienate me and she couldn’t keep an eye on me. Even at 37, she was constantly trying to give me money and considered me her baby.
Sadly, the stress and strain of trying to take care of her elderly uncle (who was more like a brother) took it’s toll. Her heart gave way to two attacks and her lungs to pneumonia. Severe dehydration and thickened blood made it hard for her frail frame to recuperate. I know she fought as much as she could…but, as she’d told me when we spoke the day before she went into ICU…she was tired.
One day, I wont cry until my chest heaves and my breath shortens. One day, I will think of her name and only smile instead of cry. One day, I will get through a night without tossing and turning. Today…I miss my grandmother like crazy. Today…I’m a baby girl without her precious grandmother.
I love you SO much, grandma. Be at peace. Be my angel.
Love, your Baby Love.