My grandmother was the first woman I ever fell in love with. I’m not unique in that respect. It was impossible for anyone who ever met her not to love her. I was fortunate enough that I was her first grandchild, and as such, I was entitled to a level of treatment most typically bestowed upon Sultans of the Ottoman. When she whipped up a batch of blueberry pancakes, I couldn’t finish the one on my plate before she had another one ready for me. I’ve said before, she was the only woman on this planet I trusted whole-heartedly. She set the bar impossibly high for ladies in my life, which I believe is why I just can’t quite settle down with one. Sorry to any ex-girlfriends who may take offense to that. It’s not me, it really is you.
Now my grandparents are by no means overly wealthy. But I will tell you that when I was a child, if I wanted the red netting from a turkey to put over my head so that I could play Spider-Man, my Grandma would’ve gone out and bought the whole damn turkey and cooked an entire meal so that I could let my imagination run rampant for an afternoon. (And if Grandma were here, I’d apologize for the curse word, but it’s me exercising my artistic license, Grandma.) That’s the kind of person that she was. She would give and give until she had nothing left for herself. When she was lying on her deathbed in the Intensive Care Unit, and mustering words was the most difficult labor of her life, she pulled me down close to her and said, “I’m sorry I don’t have any money to give you.” I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it. She would have given away her entire life savings to me one crinkled up twenty dollar bill at a time.
As laws of science dictate, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction; for every negative, there must be a positive. And though it seems impossibly hard to articulate something positive out of a loss of this magnitude, I know that’s exactly what Grandma would want. There are people who go through their short time on this earth never truly being loved or never truly loving someone. Grandma’s life was a testament that she was loved by many, and more importantly, capable of a wonderful ability to love others. To know this kind of hurt now that she’s not with us is testimony to the undeniable impact that she left on our lives.
To those that knew her, it’s your charge to ensure that she’s remembered for the caliber of a person that she was. Blindly faithful, compassionate, dedicated, caring; a thesaurus can’t begin to address how truly amazing she was. The best part of writing this is that I can say this with complete candor. I don’t need to brush up any faults. That amazing woman didn’t have one to speak of. She wanted to live her life with her husband, her children, and her grandchildren. She was wired to make sure that everyone else was content, and that was her bliss.
I know that every laugh is going to be a little bit different from now on. I sincerely loved Grandma with ever ounce of my being. With absolute certainty I can say that there will never be another person on this planet I care for as much as her. Watching those last few breaths made me realize I would give away all of mine if it meant letting her have one more day of hers. Every family gathering will be forever changed now. Driving through “Onion City” will leave me feeling a little sad. I’ll never be able to look at the covered wagon at Holiday Camplands the same. The void left by this magnificent woman will resonate with me for the rest of my life. My heart is definitely broken. My chest feels like it weighs a million pounds today. But I’m going to carry on the best that I can. I’m going to try to learn to cook pancakes like she did. So someday when someone tells me that those are the best pancakes they have ever had, I can tell them about Grandma.