Today I lost my grandmother. I am so fortunate to have known not only all of my grandparents but also have personal relationships with my great grandparents. I use to take my great grandfather to school for show and tell when I was in second grade. He was amazing. He could play harmonica, play guitar, make butter, and had lots of stories.
I had the opportunity this week to say goodbye to my grandmother. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I spent a lot of time thinking about all of the things I needed to tell her. I realized that she is the reason that I paint. She gave me my first paints. She use to buy me sketchbooks. She encouraged my art.
When I was little we planted flowers in her yard together. I spent a lot of time with her. She told me that her favorite season was spring. She told me that she hoped to die in the spring. I remember at the age of 5 being completely upset by the idea she might one day die. She got her wish, today was a beautiful spring day. It was also her birthday. She was only 74.
She was an individual. She had no use for feminine things. She kept her hair cut short. She didn’t care what people thought, and didn’t think anyone else should either. I remember once preparing for an Easter show at my church. She gave me glittery orange socks to wear with my white dress. I was horrified. I cried and begged the preacher’s wife not to put me in the play because I was sure I would die of embarrassment. She took pity on me and loaned me her daughters white lacey socks. After the play was over, I put back on the orange glittery socks so I wouldn’t hurt grandma’s feelings. Now I wish I had a pair of orange glittery socks.
My grandma had one of the funniest sense of humors of anyone I have ever met. We joked about everything. When life got hard, she told me that if she were me she would be an alcoholic. I told her I couldn’t afford the habit. I sent her postcards from around the world as jokes. I sent her one from Vegas of a chapel and told her I ran off and got married. I sent her one from California telling her that I was probably going to have to sell my body for money because I was so poor. She always just laughed. She encouraged my travels and my art and my adventures when everyone else told me I was crazy. She was proud of me.
When we went out to eat she would order a margarita. One drink would make her feisty. She would slip the 20 year old waiter her number.
Due to back problems she had bad balance. She stumbled when she walked. I just told people she was drunk and to ignore her. She would follow me around giggling.
I think that a lot of my humor and some of my individuality comes from her. I’m happy I got the opportunity to tell her what she means to me. I’m glad I got to tell her the role she has played in my life. I realize that it’s a shame we aren’t more honest on an everyday basis. A shame that we don’t tell people what they mean to us.