Yesterday, I was celebrating the birth of our friend's twin girls, and today, I'm mourning the death of my Grandma. Isn't life funny? Such a fragile thing. This will be my most difficult post. I don't deal well with death. Probably because I've only experienced it a handful of times. But, I know it's a natural process of life, and my Grandma is no longer suffering. It's what she wanted.
I'm so glad Tinley and I had the chance to go home a few weekends ago and spend some time with my Grandma. Even though she was in the hospital the entire time, and at first, didn't know our names, she smiled every time we walked in, and she knew who we were. Even on the last day, when she barley opened her eyes, she knew we were there. My mom stayed by her side until the very end, and she died peacefully this past Sunday morning at the age of 91. She had a mighty fine life, full of love, laugher, sweet doggies, Kahlua drinking, poker playing, gambling, and cigarette smoking. Even in her final days, she was begging my mom for a cigarette. She cracked me up.
There are a few things I'll always remember about my Grandma, things that will always remind me of her and make me smile. Every time I eat a bowl of coffee ice cream or crack open a pistachio, I will remember sitting at her kitchen table as a kid, eating both with her, not at the same time of course, but in large quantities that my mom didn't approve of. I remember watching her get ready when I was little and we were going out to dinner at MOI, (Middle of the Island for you non-Wilmingtonian's) her and my Papa's favorite place. I think they went there about 3 times a week, at least. I still remember their favorite waitress' name, Heather. Grandma would paint on bright red lipstick before we left the house, and drench herself in perfume, you know, the really strong "old-lady" kind. I can still smell it today. She used to wear a beautiful ring on every finger, one with blue diamonds, one with rubies, one with sapphires. She had every stone you can think of. And if it wasn't in a ring, it was in a bracelet that dangled from her wrist... she wore about 10 at a time. I used to sit in her lap and play with them and just admire them all, hoping that one day, I could have that many jewels. One time, when I was about 5, we made a bet, Grandma and I. She bet me that if I would stop sucking my thumb, that she would quit smoking. Well, needless to say, she didn't hold up her end of the bet. Every time I see a pack of Parliament Lights, I can't help but smile. Her and my Papa had a big pond in the backyard of their house. It was gorgeous and filled with all kinds of beautiful, exotic fish. I loved to go out and feed them and lean in really close watching them eat and swim around. One time, I was probably about 7 or so, I leaned over just a little too far, and I fell in! Now, this was not some small, shallow pond, this thing was deep! My Papa had to rescue me, and when I was safe on dry land, as I stood there drenched and freezing, all they could worry about was the fish! We all laughed later. I remember her white Mustang she drove, and how I always said I would inherit it when I turned 16. Much like the bet we made, that didn't happen either. I remember playing Old Maid and Go Fish with her and my Papa. Like my dad and step-mom, they were both big card players, and they all dreamed I would take up bridge. I still have yet to learn. Maybe that will be my next new hobby, aside from blogging. :o) I used to go with her to my Papa's dentist office when she had to do some work, and I remember sitting underneath her big desk, playing with markers, face masks, her magnifying glass, whatever I could get my hands on. I just loved being there. I'm surprised I never wanted to become a dentist myself. One time, when I was around 6, she picked me up from dance and had bought me one of those wooden paddles with a rubber ball attached to it with a string. You know what I'm talking about? Well, I don't remember what exactly I did, but for some reason, she slapped my hand with that paddle so hard, it was still red when my mom picked me up from her house that evening. I'm sure I deserved it, but that time she disciplined me has always stuck out in my memory. Probably because it was about the only time she did it. You know how Grandmas are. Whatever I wanted, I got. She spoiled me to no end.
I only wish Tinley could have gotten to know her better, and know her and remember her as I do. She only saw Tinley twice in her lifetime, which is something I regret, but I can't wait to share all these happy memories and many more with her when she gets older. I will make sure she knows what a classy, fun, and hip grandma her great-grandma was to me.
Rest in peace Grandma. You are finally in Heaven with Papa, Gloria, Lady, Puff, Precious, and all your other friends and animals. I know you have one heck of a poker game going on! I love and miss you, and know you will always be watching and smiling. There are no goodbyes, only see you laters. So, see you later Grandma.
Isn't she beautiful?
Papa and Grandma
The day I was born
Visiting Grandma and Papa in Wilmington. I was 6 months old.
My first Halloween!
In her element, playing cards. I love this picture.
The day we brought our yorkie puppy, Lady, home. I think I was 6 or 7.
Christmas 2010. Grandpa Dyar, Mom, Grandma
At my Baby Shower in NC
Summer 2013; 4 Generations. A special, priceless picture.
Her face lit up when she saw Tinley and I. She called her Tindle.