52 Week Challenge - Week 13 or 14 or….

I honestly lost track of which week in the challenge I'm supposed to be on.  I had missed a few, but I was ready to get back on track. It was the week of Mother's Day and I selected the theme - MOTHER.  I figured people would have fun with it and a lot of people would participate. It would be an 'easy' one.

Exactly two weeks ago, Mother's Day, I sat down to type this really clever blog about how a "mother" can look different to everyone.  I wrote the first two sentences about how the founder of Mother's Day never actually had children of her own and some other gibberish I can't remember.  

That's when I got the call that stopped me in the middle of my sentence.  The call that took my breath away. My aunt was calling to tell me that my Grandma Brenda had suffered a heart attack and was being taken via ambulance to the hospital. What I didn't know at that time is that she had already passed.  She was gone. The days that followed have been a blur, as I'm told they typically are. Family came, there was a very nice memorial luncheon, family left, and now here we are.  

The funeral home prepared a very nicely written summary about my Grandma. and how she was loved, a little stubborn, and didn't take "sh!t" from anyone.  But I can't shake this feeling that there are still a few things that people should know about this woman.  

1. Most importantly - at one time or many times - she acted as a "mother" to all of her grandchildren. I think we all lived with her and Grandpa at some point.  My sisters, mom, and I lived with them on two different occasions. No place was off limits in her house.  She let us play with her knick knacks, made valentine boxes with us, and gave us snacks after dinner.  The times we lived at her house are some of our fondest memories.  Each of carries a little trait or two that we picked up from our time with her too. I love that she lives on in little ways, in each of us.

My sisters and I with Grandma at a restaurant,when she came to visit us in Texas

My sisters and I with Grandma at a restaurant,when she came to visit us in Texas

One time we were burning leaves in the alley - you could do it back then - Grandma ran in the house and grabbed marshmallows for roasting. She loved that story and told me about it on Mother's Day.  That's my mom, sisters, and my cousin Travis.

One time we were burning leaves in the alley - you could do it back then - Grandma ran in the house and grabbed marshmallows for roasting. She loved that story and told me about it on Mother's Day.  That's my mom, sisters, and my cousin Travis.

That's Grandpa! He's the coolest.  Oh and that's me in the fake rabbit fur coat and Joe Dirt haircut.  (thanks for that, mom) 

That's Grandpa! He's the coolest.  Oh and that's me in the fake rabbit fur coat and Joe Dirt haircut.  (thanks for that, mom) 

2.  She loved to have cereal for dinner. I guess that's pretty common. But she ate some other odd things too.  She would eat toast or crackers soaked in warm milk.  GROSS! She would eat fried Suit? I think that's what it's called?  It's like chilled fat that's breaded…yuck! Ha! But she didn't care what I thought, she loved it!  And I loved that about her.

3. She was funny! She had an odd sense of humor at times, and maybe not everyone understood her 'jokes'. But it didn't matter because once she started laughing you had no choice but to join in.  She would get so "tickled", as she would call it, about something and she couldn't stop from laughing.  

This is totally a "tickled" Grandma! :) Oh that's her brother Pete on the left and Grandpa again on the right.

This is totally a "tickled" Grandma! :) Oh that's her brother Pete on the left and Grandpa again on the right.

4. She was thoughtful. She made sure that if you were ever a guest at Christmas, that you had a gift to open.  It didn't matter if we decided to drag you along at the last minute; she always had something ready.  It wasn't an extravagant gift.  Usually a candle or box of chocolates or something like that. But she was thoughtful.

5.  She worried about everybody.  My freshman year (and only year) of college she would give me rolls of quarters to do my laundry. She and Grandpa both would always ask me if I had "pocket money", which they defined as ten or twenty dollars in your wallet, just in case. And, if I didn't, she'd make sure I did when I left. She wanted all of us to have dependable cars to drive, a little money in the bank, and a better life than she had.  She stewed over minor disagreements with her kids and grandkids.  One time she didn't talk to my aunt for 3 days over some silly difference of opinion and it made her physically ill. She loved deeply, was very sensitive, and worried about everybody. 

6. She rarely talked about emotions and that's because of the way she was raised.  She wanted the best for everyone, but sometimes she would say things that seemed or felt cruel.  She never meant to be hurtful. I know in my heart she didn't.  I believe her intentions were always good even if she didn't express them the right way.  She just cared and had opinions about things.  Like ALOT of opinions. Ha! I believe that's one of the traits I got from her. :)

She was also a total REBEL! :)

She was also a total REBEL! :)

7. She loved to read! She told me once that she had to teach herself how to read.  That she learned a little in school but they didn't really care much how well girls learned back in those days.  So after she left school, she taught herself.  She was proud of that and loved books as a result.  She would read 4 or 5 books in a week sometimes.  Every now and then I would give her one of my books to read and wait for her reviews.  Mostly she would say they were kind of "odd" or "weird" but sometimes she liked them. I love that we shared that.

8. She had cancer 3 times in the last 8 years and beat cancer 3 times.  They took most of her colon and intestines, part of her spine, and repaired her heart once.  She was a fighter! 

9. She loved to take vacations. No matter how little money she and Grandpa had, as their kids (our parents) were growing up, she made sure they took a vacation. She also told me not long ago, that I should be sure to take vacations with my girlfriends. She said, "You don't have to spend a lot of money. Drive somewhere."  I was assured that we would make funny memories. She loved vacations with her best friend, Dee and...she loved Dee. Although I don't think she ever said that. She said if you find friends like that you have to hang on to them for life, because real friends are hard to come by.  She's right about that. 

That's Grandma in the middle and Dee on her right.  Out on one of their many adventures

That's Grandma in the middle and Dee on her right.  Out on one of their many adventures

She looks pretty happy on that rock! This is maybe one of my favorite pictures of her. 

She looks pretty happy on that rock! This is maybe one of my favorite pictures of her. 

10. She liked traditions. We went to the same one or two craft shows with my aunt Mick, Mom, and my sister Kerry, nearly every year for the past 10 years or so.  We spent every Christmas Eve at her house my whole life, except only a handful due to weather or other unavoidable circumstances. After she got sick,  she and I would attend the same craft boutique and do her Christmas shopping the first weekend of December. Those things are going to be hard to do without her.  

Grandma being funny and "cool" at the Durham Holiday exhibit. 

Grandma being funny and "cool" at the Durham Holiday exhibit. 

 

I hate that cancer took away some of her pep the last 8 years.  I hate that it caused her daily pain and fatigue and made it hard for her to do things she used to love. I hate that she's gone and my Grandpa has to move on without her.  But I love that she lived for 82 years.   I love that she had my grandpa to share 57 of those years with. And I love that we all were blessed to have her for the time we did. And... I know she's still here with us, watching over us, laughing with us. 

She and Grandpa - 25th Wedding Anniversary

She and Grandpa - 25th Wedding Anniversary

Love you too, Grandma...

Love you too, Grandma...