My Grandmother from my father’s side of the family was my favorite relative and closest friend for the earliest stages of my life. She lived with my Great Aunt Linda in a small town named Friendship. A trip to grandma’s house was more eagerly anticipated than my birthday. I took every opportunity possible to pester my parents by asking them when the next time we would be going to Grandma’s house is. I never got the opportunity to meet my grandfather, but he must have been the luckiest man under the sun to have married my grandma.
Grandma McDermott had her own video games that she played with me every time we visited. I often found myself spending more time with her than my closest cousins who were very enjoyable people to be around, but just couldn’t compete with the greatest grandma ever. She also secretly bought me bags of gummi worms and made me promise not to share with my sisters. I believe the love of a grandmother is a precious gem. If we don’t keep it close to our hearts and cherish it always, the next time we look, it may have been taken away. Grandma always lived life to the very fullest. She was the sole spark that ignited my love for art, even though my older sister always had more talent. She was, and still is, the most talented artist who ever graced the third rock. She was an art teacher for a junior high school in Friendship. If you ask me, this job seriously undervalued her abilities, but it made her happy, so it was fine by me. Whenever a gift-giving holiday would roll around she would always make my sisters and me sweatshirts with glue dot designs on them. I remember one in particular that was purple with a green dot dinosaur on the front. That otherwise hideous purple sweatshirt with the Brontosaurus design meant nothing to me at the time, and I allowed it to be given away to charity. Having that sweatshirt today would be worth more to me than its weight in gold, but foolishly, I let it go to some child for whom this precious treasure meant nothing.
A few years back my best friend died of lung cancer from a life of smoking Pall Mall cigarettes. She needed to carry an oxygen tank with her most everywhere in her last stretch of life, but she didn’t always use it. Nobody told her what to do and I respected that. Even in her frail elderly state, she was a very iron-willed impassioned woman. In my naïve youth, I took her for granted, and it crushed my spirit to hear she had passed away in her sleep. I never cried so hard or for so long as the day I heard this grave news. It still brings a tear to my eye to think back to the laidback days of childhood with Grandma. If there were any way, I’d bring her back, no matter the cost to me or anyone else. I believe that you don’t fully appreciate the treasures you have until they are suddenly stripped away. My fear of death is lessened, knowing that there is a bag of gummi worms and a warm smile waiting for me.
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