I was five weeks old and in her arms. My parents said it was so hot the four of us were sitting in the garage relaxing with cool drinks. She smiled at my parents and me. She was so happy. She then said the hauntingly truthful words “Get ready for the ride of your life.” To my parents, she meant that me, their first baby, was the beginning of a great adventure. A week later, she experienced the ride of her life: the ride that ended it. I was 6 weeks old and my grandmother was dead.
I don’t remember anything about her, not even from the few videos and pictures my parents show me, hoping to spark some memory. I always wonder about her and what she was like. Would she have been a grandmother I could run to when I needed to talk about something? Would she be distant, yet always in my heart? Sadly, my questions will never be answered.
As my other grandmother, my mom’s mom, has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, I begin to imagine life without Grammy. Somehow, it’s easier to accept the fact that Grammy will be leaving us soon, than it is to accept the fact that Bubbe is gone. With my Grammy, I know her. I know that she loves me and wants me to tell her things. I have a lot of memories of her like watching TV when she babysat me, and making ice cream sundaes together after my younger sister went to bed.
Throughout my family, there is a lot of sad, crazy, and weird. My grandmothers mostly cover the sad, but the crazy and weird are reserved for my aunt Amy. Amy is my Dad’s aunt, and Bubbe’s sister. As far as age goes, she is the closest person to a grandmother for me on my dad’s side of the family, but in reality, she is little more than a sender of e-cards. Several arguments have caused there to be tension between her and my mother and for them be uncomfortable when they are together, thus making me not see her a lot. When I was younger, I wouldn’t answer her emails, and “thank you” was all I gave her in response to her many cards. But lately, I’ve been curious. I started answering her emails, accepted her friend request on Facebook, and I was shocked at what I found out. She’s a person too! A person with thoughts and feelings and regrets, a person who wants to make things right, but knows that it’s too late. Knowing what I now do about her, her love for RYLA programs, and her work with Russian exchanges, I would have never been able to forgive myself if she spent the rest of her life trying to reach out, while I ignored her.
I believe that having someone taken from you that you’ve hardly ever met is worse than losing someone you have known forever. Those that you have known forever are easily remembered, but those that you know little or nothing about will always be a source of curiosity.
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