Some people touch your life so much that when they are gone, you still feel they are still near...
I want to take this opportunity to dedicate my post today to my wonderful Grandma. See, her birthday was actually on Halloween. In fact, the month of October is actually a month that brings lots of memories of my Grandma. She was born on October 31, was married on October 24, had my mother on October 14, and she passed away 10 years ago on October 17. It's hard not to think of her this time of year.
Last year, when T and I were getting pictures together for our slide show for the wedding, my mom had given me a large photo album with all sorts of pictures from my childhood. One picture (this one) I used as a bookmark for my reading because I loved it so much. One night, I was reading in bed while T was getting ready to turn in for the night, I came across the picture. And, out of the blue, I started crying and couldn't stop. I sat there looking at it, examining it closely, looking at the happy faces my brother and sister and I had, as well as the smile on my Grandma's face. (I'm the one to her left, if you didn't already know, with the huge cheesy smile.) I remember that day. I couldn't have been more than seven or eight in that picture, maybe younger. She and my Grandpa had come down to Alabama for the weekend to celebrate my Grandma's birthday. We had hit the mall earlier that day, and I absolutely had to get her a present. I had no money, but I wanted it to come from me.
I knew she collected items with geese on them. She had one of those geese that you put on your front porch and dressed up in different seasonal outfits. (I was always so excited to see what the goose would be wearing when we came over for a visit.) Even when she was in the final stages of her cancer, she still changed that goose for the seasons or at least had my mom do it. So imagine my happiness when I was at the dollar store and found the perfect little goose figurine to put in her miniature display box she had in her kitchen. It was only $1, which was great because that was exactly how much my allowance was! I made my mom take my Grandma out of the store and proudly bought the item to surprise her later. I even wrapped the little thing up. I was so excited for her to open it and see what I got her. And, if I remember correctly, she had that little goose up in her kitchen until my Grandpa moved out of the house years after she passed.
I loved her so much. She was the matriarch of our family, the glue that held us all together. Family events were always huge and full of amazing food, thanks to her. I don't think I have a single bad memory from family get togethers at her house. I was a sophomore in college when she passed away from cancer. She fought the fight, but she couldn't conquer the disease. It was a heartbreaking loss for all of us. I still can't believe that it has been ten years now that she has been gone. It feels just like yesterday.
One of the bittersweet parts of our wedding day was remembering people who couldn't have been with us that day. T is lucky in that he has most of his grandparents, but I just have my Grandpa left. He means the world to me. I know he misses my Grandma every day, though, and it breaks my heart. We had a candle on the altar lit in memory of my Grandma, as well as Tim's Grandpa Lou, my Grandma on my Dad's side, and my Aunt Linda. I also carried a hankerchief from each of my grandmothers in my bouquet in memory of them. But it would have meant the world to me to have her sitting out there with the rest of my family. She would have loved T.
Looking at that little girl in that picture, it makes me sad to think that I had no idea that someday she would be gone. Back then, I didn't know the realities of life and death. I didn't think that I wouldn't have my Grandma there with me. I lived in the moment. I remember how it was just the coolest thing ever that my Grandma came to visit us, and we had so much fun that weekend. In that moment I was truly happy. And I cherish those moments forever and always will. I look at that picture, and I feel so blessed and lucky that I had this amazing woman in my life.
I miss her every day. I don't think that part ever gets easier. But I know she's in my heart and I know she's watching over me. I know that even though she wasn't personally at my wedding, she was there.
So on this Halloween, I want to say this...Happy birthday, Grandma. I love you and always will.