Monthly Archives: November 2012
Congratulations Erik & Jessica!!
I laid in bed last night and couldn’t sleep, I looked at my phone and realized in was around 1:30 in the morning, on Nov. 19th, and then I let my mind take me to where I was 9 years ago around the same time. We had been crowded around the hospital bed, saying our last goodbyes to my grandma Shirley.
I laid there last night and I let the whole thing play out in my head, and so many details about my childhood with her, and how now 9 years later I still think of her, almost every day. I had so many thoughts and I wanted to write them down, but I was somewhat enjoying the memories just flooding through. I thought to myself that I would write a blog post about it in the morning. The thing is, this morning, when I thought about it, I thought how silly, no one wants to listen to me going on and on about my grandma. In the scheme of things, we all lose our grandparents, and they are all special. But then I thought more, and I thought, maybe I wasn’t doing this for anyone else, it was for me. I’m not sure anyone really reads this blog aside from a few 🙂 (thank you by the way). With all these Thanksgiving post going around, I figured, I could elaborate on my thankfulness and share my story about one of the most special people in life.
I remember the night before she passed away, I couldn’t sleep. She had been in and out of the hospital so so so many times, and I’m not sure if there was anything in particular that said this time was different, but for me that night I knew it was. I laid in bed and I remember something hit me that this was the end, and I cried and cried and prayed. The next night my mom called me, and told me I needed to come home. we both remember that my reply was “I know” – before she went into any details. I didn’t ask any more questions, I just assumed my grandma had passed away. I scrambled to find a way home, and was so thankful when my friend Briana said she would drive me half way to meet my mom. And I remember thinking the entire way home that she was already gone and I didn’t say goodbye, I was too afraid to ask though. Finally when we were getting closer, I asked, and my mom said “not yet.”
I don’t know what I expected but I remember pouring into the hospital room and seeing my dads entire family- and kneeling next to my gran, grabbing her hand and just crying, my grandpa saying “Shirley she’s here, Andrea is here!” and then everyone left the room. a short time later, we were all together again, sitting around her bed and sharing stories, as her heart rate was dropping and her breathing was slowing. As awful as it was, I think that when you think about death, thats how you want it to be, surrounded by your whole family, laughing and loving.
In the 9 years since that night, I have grown to see my grandma in a whole different light. The memories of my grandma flood my brain out of no where, I guess thats just how it is when you lose someone one. I remember when I was really little- pre school age- she would watch me while my mom went to work. My grandma only made a trip to town once a week, so, it was sort of a big deal. She’d give me an old change purse full of change and we would set out for the day starting with yard sales. I remember it feeling like an epic trip- because my grandma’s car wasn’t like my mom’s. It was a big ol’ boat, with a bench seat covered in velvet. I remember her shifting the car in reverse on the steering wheel (also not like my moms) and slowly rolling down the driveway. Every bump was smooth, and I can still remember the smell of the interior and the smooth ride into town. We would hit the yard sales first, I could buy whatever I wanted with my change- and then the grocery store. My grandma shopped at Aldi- my mom never went to Aldi, and the store always intrigued me, I felt like we were part of some secret club where you had to pay for your cart and bag your own groceries, but I always remember the sound of the cart clicking on the tiled floor and we would wonder around.
Once we got home she would make me whatever I wanted for lunch, 90% of the time that was a baked potato with too much butter and too much salt (editors note, it didn’t taste like too much butter, but as an adult, I wonder now why she gave a child such a massive amount- not complaining, just wondering) and a side of peas. yup. thats what I wanted. and I still do to this day. We’d spend the rest of the day watching gumby, play bank with her old returned checks and either coloring or gardening.
My favorite thing about my grandma was her mad cooking skills. Baked potatoes and peas were not her specialty. The lady could cook like no other, and expert in comfort foods. The best part about this is that they lived next to us. So a typical night would include me asking my mom what was for supper- and either eyeing what grandma was making that afternoon, or if I was really desperate, calling her and getting a 2nd option. If it was something good, I was out the door. Thats what I miss most, something that I can’t get back no matter what- but every once in a while, I might get just a pinch of grandma when I try my best to replicate her roast, potatoes and carrots (my favorite) or homemade noodles (fail every time) beans and cornbread, or cherry delight, and none of my grandma’s recipes are complete with out bread and butter (wheat only) and I glass of sweet tea! Thats when I think of her the most too, when I’m cooking. My mom was and still is a great cook, and she taught me pretty much everything I know, but there is something about the way my grandma made things that can’t be beat. I remember one time my poor mother made mashed potatoes and every single time I would say, “they don’t taste like grandma’s” until one day she said, “well I called her, I did everything the same, so I guess she’ll have to come down here and stick her finger in them!” I’ve learned after trial and error- its not boiling them as long, and of course more salt and butter than what one would deem necessary. Thats one of my favorite parts about cooking now, as an adult, is trying something that is harder than average, and thinking about my grandma along the way.
I wish so often she was still here, I have so much to tell her, but I know, she already knows, I would just love to hear what she’d have to say. She always had great advice, like- if I was at their house and it started raining, she’d offer to drive me home, but I’d usually say I would run- to which she would tell me to “try to run between the raindrops” ( I took this challenge seriously for most of my younger years). I thin about her often as I am getting ready, even in her older years, she had this class about her- she’d get dressed up and wear her pant suits with shoulder pads, gold ear rings and magenta pink lipstick, and I loved it. It wasn’t until she passed away and I put together a slide show that I found all of her old pictures, which brought on a whole new respect for the woman I never knew, the woman she was before she was grandma. I had a whole new obsession with the 40’s and 50’s and the black and white photos. Reminding me that some of my favorite possessions in life, will be, and always have been photos- the only way to have memories frozen in time.
Cheers to you Gran for being such a huge part of my life, you are always missed and loved!
Oh….to Windsor, with love. Thank you for having me back again and again, you sure do have some good looking seniors around there!!
I was honored to photograph Amanda, she is such an amazing, and super sweet girl…not to mention GORGEOUS. For real, so pretty.