My grandma passed away Sunday August 3rd almost exactly a month shy of her 88th birthday. She had been in a home for a while and was slowly declining. At the end she was doped up on pain killers, didn’t speak, couldn’t feed herself or even get out of bed, so it was a good thing and her time.
I have not felt as sad as I thought I would, mainly because I have been preparing for this for over a year now and I know my grandma. I know she would have hated and been embarrassed to have other people take care of her.
My grandma was a feisty stubborn woman who raised my mom and uncle by herself and worked at the Alameda Hospital for over 30 years and didn’t like being taken care of. She watching cooking shows and even once told me she enjoyed Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. She was from Puerto Rico and came from a rather poor family. Her mother, Dolores could see the dead and speak to them. My grandma was always afraid of that and didn’t like to talk about it. Grandma was a fairly devote Catholic.
For me my grandmother dying is weird because she has always been there. My whole damn life. From birth to 31, my grandma has helped me financially and emotionally she attended plays, recitals and graduations. She has fed and clothed me, taken me on vacations and shopping trips. There have been birthday and Christmas presents as well as “Don’t tell your mom” money.
My very favorite memories of my grandmother are:
When we were little (before 1997) she lived in a two story blue slightly rundown apartment in Alameda We visited her at least once a month. We would drive down with my mom and when we got there grandma always had rolls and roast beef and turkey so we could make sandwiches. Then we would go shopping or sometimes to the beach. We would have dinner at Sizzler and ice cream at Lourdes, and then come back to grandma’s house. Her apartment was a studio with a semi large kitchen and bathroom and we crowded into it, playing with our toys and a variety of odd stuffed animals my grandma always had all over the house. In the morning we would have cereal with strawberries covered in sugar and hot chocolate, which my sisters and I would cram with as many marshmallows as possible. We would make sandwiches and pack them up for the three hour trip home.
Grandma has bought me Pleasures by Este Lauder (perfume) every Christmas from the time I was 16 until 30. Last year was the first year and knowing how depressed I was about it my mom and Boo both bought it for me.
My grandma always had a very specific smell and she had this old fashioned pink body powder container with a large white puff that my sisters and I would play with.
She had a Puerto Rican accent and I loved to listen to her talk, she would often lecture my mom about not eating right. She called me her Little Precious, because my mom was her Big Precious.
We went to Disneyland when I was about nine and I was so afraid of the deep scary voice in the Haunted Mansion ride she stood outside with me and waited for mom and my sisters to get done. When L and K came back excited I was so upset and then mom took me back through. I remember Grandma sitting with me on the bench just telling me that it was ok I was afraid but that she thought I would really enjoy myself.
There are so many more but I can’t think of any right now. I just had to put into words what an amazing, loving, funny and wonderful woman my grandma was and how much she will be missed. My baby is coming within days of her birthday and I feel especially blessed knowing Jareth will make his entrance only a month or so after my grandma departed. Hopefully she sees him on the other side and sends him through safely with her blessings.