My grandma died on Friday. It was faster than I expected but really so so good. She was in an enormous amount of pain so we’d come to really hope for it to happen quickly. That said, when my mom let me know she was gone, I was completely stunned.
My husband had only met her a couple of times. He and I met when I was 31 and there just weren’t as many life events happening to warrant my grandma visiting MN as often as she used to. I never brought him along when I visited her because typically it overlapped with when we had the little girls. Because our life is so packed full (of good things and of challenges), I’ve never spent a lot of time talking about my grandma with him. His grandparents are both gone, had died before we met, so grandparents don’t come up much.
Because of that, however, it’s been difficult for him to know how my grandma’s death affects me. All weekend I’ve been trying to figure out how best to explain it. When I was little, and my mom and I were on our own, my grandma was a big part of our lives. She was a larger than life force. Even after she moved to AZ, we would see her relatively often. She wasn’t a warm-let’s-bake-cookies kind of broad. She was fierce, and strong, and all of the women in my family have turned out exactly the same. She was a solid part of the framework through which I view my world. I am me in large part because she was she.
Even though I saw her infrequently, her mere absence makes the world feel different, because her being IN the world helped shape MY world. She can’t be replaced, and thus, there is now a missing piece in the framework.
She needed to go. I am not sobbing, I am not asking “why,” but the difference is surprisingly noticeable. A week ago if someone had asked how often I thought of my grandma, I would have admitted that it wasn’t very often, because I so rarely got to see her and because the life in front of me takes up a lot of attention. And yet, now that she’s gone, I realize just how large of a force she was in my mind. It’s surprising.
Cousin A and I have been texting a lot over the past several days. We’ve talked about my grandma’s legacy being our feistiness, our independence, and our strength. Those traits are some of our best. A big part of what makes us remarkable. A huge part of who we are. And holy shit am I grateful to be her granddaughter and to have the ability to pass those things on to my little girls.
The world is a different place today than it was Friday morning. I hope to always be the kind of woman she would have been proud of and to keep that moxie traveling from generation to generation.