Well, I guess it’s been a crazy week. Unfortunately my grandmother passed away due to complications of Alzheimer’s Disease, something that is truly terrible. I am sure most of you know what the disease is because I have the smartest and best looking readers on wordpress but in case you don’t, here is the technical definition:
Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is one form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior.”- Via PubMed Health
It’s crazy because she was my last grandparent, so now I only have aunts and uncles. Strange to know the matriarch of my family is now gone. She was somewhat the element that kept our family together.
She’s gone now and I find myself reminiscing about her.
She was nowhere near the cookies and baked goods grandmother but she was definitely part of our family. My family is feast and famine with one another. When we are together, it’s leave it to beaver but when we are apart, it’s like Dallas. They fight and squabble and all of us cousins are stuck in the middle. We hardly ever talk, but when we all came together at her funeral, it was great. It seemed like things quieted down with age.
My grandmother was crass, politically incorrect, sometimes volatile, darkly comical, hateful, nosy, embellishing and I loved every bit about her.
I used to laugh at all the crazy things she did and said. In remembrance of my grandmother, who angered me as much as made me laugh, I give you some of my favorite highlights of her:
My grandmother enjoyed the company of men. Not a Jezebel but she enjoyed their company. My grandfather died in 1990 and a man named Sam was courting her. So, I was visiting her with my mother and aunt when I was around 15. I was sitting in the front room reading “Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark” for the umpteenth time, when my interest is piqued as I hear my grandmother say, “Oh yes, he comes down here all the time saying ‘baby this’ and ‘honey’ that.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I put my book down and looked at her in shock. My 71 year old grandmother was talking about her suitor! Then, she mentions that they were celebrating their 6 month anniversary and she got him a present.
“Oh really? What did you get him mom?” my aunt said.
“You should get him a money clip mom,” my mom offered.
My grandma gave them both a devilish grin and held up her small, crooked index finger as she stood up out of her old warn out recliner and shuffled into her bedroom. The three of us look bewildered and I finally ask my mom, “What do you think she got him?”
Just then, my mom looked over my shoulder and gasped. My aunt yelled, “Oh, Jesus, Violet!”
I turned around and saw my grandmother, 71 years old, wrinkles, wispy white hair, liver spots and all, holding up a black see-through teddy. I would have like to have said my eyes burned out but they didn’t.
My reaction? I did what any 15-year-old boy would do. I threw my book down and ran out of the room screaming “ewwwww!” I then hear her scream, “Oh grow up Godd**it! I think it’s cute!”
No Grandma, That’s My Top Ramen!
My cousin Josh was living with my grandma at this time and I was around 13. I was in the front room with my mom and aunt once again in my grandmother’s old, country home; the interior lined with wood paneled walls and worn down green carpet.
Josh was in the kitchen making some delicious Top Ramen noodles and he makes them extremely specific:
Josh’s Top Ramen Delight
1 package chicken flavored top ramen
1. boil water and add top ramen for 3 minutes
2. take off stove and drain most of the water, THEN add flavor packet
3. add chili flakes and enjoy!
So, he was in the process of step 2, just about to pour the water out when my tiny grandmother hobbles in, pulling her stretchy purple pants up to just under her armpits, having just come from the restroom. I see and hear the following exchange from the front room:
“Josh, just what in the hell are you doing,” my grandmother asked as she thrust her hands on her hips.
“Making ramen noodles grandma,” he said, laughing at her anger.
“Why are you pouring the water out? You gotta put in the flavor sh** first,” she said.
“No, I don’t like it like that. I like to put it on without water.”
“Joshua, just put the flavor sh** in there and eat it.”
Josh gave her a wide grin and poured out the water.
My grandmother threw her hands into the air and screamed, “Well f**k you then!”
I have literally never laughed that hard in my life and it is one of the funniest things my grandmother ever did.
The Little Things
These are the little things i loved about her
-She made the best tea in the world. She would steep it on the back porch and it would have just the right amount of sugar. She would make one jar for the family and then, knowing I loved it more than air, she would make one just for me.
-She always kept hard candies for me.
-There are pictures of her feeding me my first bottle of milk when I was still in the nursery. I treasure that nursery.
-She took care of me and my mother whenever we got in a car accident and I was in a wheelchair for a year.
-Finally, My grandfather loved me a lot but he died before I really got to know him. He passed when I was 5. I do have myriad pictures with him though and my grandmother gave me the hat he wore for over 30 years everyday he went to work. That hat was so old the bill broke into bits but I still have it at home.
My grandmother was complicated but she was my grandmother. We may not have been on the same level all the time but I hope she knew how much I cared for her and that she was the glue that held us together; through bad and good, she united us.
I love you Grandma,
Chris “Mop Top”