Friday, November 27, 2009

a new tradition

Last night, in between mouthfuls of my second turkey helping, my step-mom walked into the dining room. Handing the phone to my father, she said, "It's your daughter." Translation = my sister who spends the holiday up north with my NJ family. Then, my step-mom walked over to me and gave me a hug.

"Your Grandma Marion died today."

I didn't think it was possible to lose your appetite when you were already on a second helping.

My grandmother (mom's mom) was sick for a long time. Alzheimer's is the ugliest, meanest disease I've ever met. Last time I saw Grandma Marion, she didn't know me. I had to tell her how I was related to her. Then she asked why my mom wasn't with me. When I told her, "Your daugther, my mom, died a long time ago," she said "Wow. That's so sad. Wait, who are you?"

Yeah. Not really an awesome visit.

I wasn't really that close to her in these last years. After Mommy died, we lost touch with that side of the family. Caring for Grandma fell to my cousins and my aunt. Is it bizarre that I feel relieved for them, to not have to worry about her anymore?

Then there's this: she died on Thanksgiving. Is this becoming a family tradition? Mom dies on Christmas Eve, Grandma on Thanksgiving. Hey God - dibs on Valentine's, okay? Or do you think the 4th of July is more appropriate due to my recent Obama Obsession? I'm really only interested in Easter if you're going to throw in the whole "rise from the dead" deal you gave Jesus. Halloween, you say? Hmm. Negotiable.

I know it's not a joke. Obviously, I'm not in the mood to wax poetic about my Gram or death or life in general. Let's face it, that just wasn't her style. My Grandma Marion was never the sugary sweet grandma. She'd never smother you with kisses or read you a bedtime story. But she was funny. She had spunk. She used to hide a $10 bill instead of an Easter basket. She cackled when my cousin and I put a plastic slug in her glass of wine. She'd appreciate my sarcasm if she were here to read this.

I have a funny memory of her breaking the water dispenser on the refrigerator in our new house when we moved to Florida. At the time, my mom told me she was sleep walking. As a kid, I thought it was hilarious. Woo, grandma's crazy! As an adult, I realize she was drunk. Woo, grandma's lit! (Actually, still kind-of funny.)

I remember when she took me - just me - on a shopping trip to JC Penney's. In the dressing room, we couldn't decide which dress to buy so she bought me all three. It is a Big Deal when you're the youngest of three girls to get a shopping trip by yourself. It's a bigger deal to get a new dress that your sister has never worn before. I bet she knew that.

All in all, not the best Thanksgiving in memory. But, I have happy memories to make me thankful. So, if it's okay to be thankful that she's not suffering anymore, I'm okay with that. I'm okay with that.


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