To my boys,
It's been over five years now since your Grammy passed away so I wanted to tell you a little bit about her while my recollection is still strong.
It is true that you tend to “idealize” a person after they’re gone—recalling only your favorite memories for comfort and strength. Sure we had our squabbles like all mothers/daughters do—but they pale in comparison to the warm remembrances of family vacations, time spent with friends and some meaningful—yet difficult—conversations we had prior to her death in 2003.
The purpose of these words is to paint a picture--a picture of your grandmother who loved you in her heart even though she never got the pleasure of discovering your existence. To me, it seems as if she brought us together…her pain and suffering serving as stepping stones to my own voyage to parenthood. Had it not been for her illness and eventual passing, I might not have yearned so deeply to feel that bond between mother and child. Not only has your joining our family enriched the lives and relationship of your father and me, but it has brought me closer to my mother in a somewhat unusual sense. To touch you is to channel the love she gave us all those years and pass it along to you. And, as the years go by and you grow from babies, into boys and eventually into men, I hope to tap into that creativity and sense of humor she used so often in raising us.
Sense of humor. Boy, did she have a clever wit about her. She had a dry, but always inclusive, sense of humor…possessing the ability to make everyone laugh—regardless if they really “got” her jokes or not. The woman had the knack for making others feel comfortable and at ease…if anything, I pray that I may have gotten a little bit of that quality from her.
Your Grammy had a beautiful voice and we loved to sing together while driving, or cleaning the house…any chance that we had to harmonize and enjoy music together. We would often sing “Amazing Grace” – that was one of her favorites. She taught your Aunt Jenny and I an appreciation for music, for the lyrics of songs and the emotions that they could allow you to feel. To this day, one of my favorite things is to sit and play my favorite songs and sing at the top of my lungs…I feel very close to her when I spend quiet time just enjoying singing and listening to music.
Since you boys came into our lives, I have often felt sad—wishing she were here to see that cute smile of yours or hear your sweet laughter. She would really have enjoyed both of you. D., she would have reveled in your curiosity and your incessant questions about life and the zeal with which you live it. J., your smile lights up a room and I'm sure she would have loved sitting at the sewing machine whipping out little outfits for you to wear.
Even the name "Grammy" was picked out by her as we discussed my desire to have children. We tossed about "Grandma" and "Nana" and we would chuckle at the thought of funny names like "Kackoo." And I made the mistake one time of suggesting "Granny"--nope, that wouldn't be an option! So, we settled on Grammy and she embraced her moniker with pride.
There is so much I want to share with you two about this remarkable woman...so many details about who she was and what she loved and the way in which people were drawn to her and her warm, inviting personality. Maybe as certain memories come back to me, I'll jot them down here so you can get a sense of what a neat person she was.
And, although she never got to meet you, I know in my heart of hearts that she loved you both very much.