Friday, July 11, 2008

Work Has Eaten Me Alive, and How Are You?

My grandmother at age 22, circa 1936

Hope the rest of the OC has been faring well so far this summer. In the past month, my place of employment has a) reincorporated, b) moved to a new office, c) changed all its providers (though not health insurance...yet), and d) lost its computer network. Twice. Oh, and my commute doubled from 45 minutes to 90, and a workplace Surf Nazi has made it difficult for me to do anything online including blogging. Ugh.

But more on that later. Tonight I'm thinking about my grandmother, who would have been a whopping 94 years old this July. She's been gone 10 years now, but the heartache of life without her lingers. When I was little going to Gram's house was a magical time, filled with special foods only she gave us: orange sherbet, butter mints, graham crackers with butter and honey and, on special occasions, freezer cakes or fudge sundaes from the ice cream parlor down the street.

Diabetes changed all that, of course. She didn't understand it; when I left the hospital after being diagnosed she told me, "Be good and do what the doctors tell you, and you'll get better." Later she must have realized how much things had changed. But Gram always made me feel included, no matter what. The dinner table always had canned peaches or fruit cocktail for me (back in the days of "heavy syrup", she would carefully rinse everything and serve it in a crystal bowl. "Because you're special," she would say, and pat my shoulder.). I might not have been able to eat Oreos for dessert with my brother anymore, but she made sure I always had plain vanilla wafers and a banana. God love her, she often ruined perfectly good strawberries by dousing them in saccharin...but I smiled and thanked her and ate every last one. Every time.

We used to go shopping, Gram and I, when I first learned how to drive. I always got a kick out of looking at clothes together or talking about family things. She would crack me up by eating at McDonald's with me in the mall, with her high heels and perfectly done hair and makeup and designer clothes. ("They're the only ones who have fresh coffee," she would say. Hot black coffee was her drink of choice, be it 32 or 92 degrees outside.) She never asked me if I was low or high, because back then there was no way to tell. But when I got my own apartment she would tell my parents, "Don't worry, she'll be okay. She knows how to take care of herself."

We laid her to rest on a beautiful May morning. On her Mass card, we chose this verse:

“May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow.
May the soft winds freshen your spirit.
May the sunshine brighten your heart.
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you,
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.”

Goodnite, Gram. We still miss you.


Karen said...

What a beautiful post - you've brought tears to my eye. Your Gram sounds like an amazing and special lady. And I know she is still with you in so many ways.

meanderings said...

What a beautiful lady she was! You're so lucky to have wonderful memories of good times.

Donna said...

Your Gram and my Mamaw sound like they were a lot alike. My Mamaw used to do those special things for me, too. What a blessing they were to us!