Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Saying good-bye is never easy

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Current mood: peaceful

A couple a weeks ago one of my friends, Cathy wrote a blog about her Grandma. It touched me so much that I’ve decided to do the same. My Grandma passed away on January 9, 2006. Instead of being sad, I've decided to remember all the good times we shared. This past year for me has been a rough one and I wished my Grandma was there to make everything OK, the way she always seemed to make things.

Looking back can be so much fun and yet painful at the same time…..


When God calls one we love away…to dwell with Him on high…the question we the living ask…is simply the word why…for we who love can surely give…reasons by the score…reasons they were needed…it’s all been said before…and yet, when God makes a request of us…we must answer His call…we’re only here for a short time…the great as well as small…He knows the burden each must bear…when He sends us great grief…but for those who believe in Him…will come greater relief…so when He takes a love away…and we must start with tears…He leaves with us the memory…of happy golden years…so it is we who must go on…because God deems we must…the whole wide world is in His hands…and in Him we must trust.

Copyright 1971, Gen. Fea. Corp.

I found this clipping in my Grandma’s bible. My Aunt had brought her bible to the hospital and I remember going to a quiet place down the hall from my Grandma’s hospital room and reading it and crying. As much as it hurt and still hurts today, this message is so true.

My Grandma passed away only 19 days after turning 90 years old. The picture above is of her at her 90th birthday party. I’ve dealt with death before but losing my Grandma was the hardest. I’ve never watched someone die before. My Grandma went into the hospital after suffering a mild heart attack. After about a week, the doctor’s were ready to send her home. That unfortunately would not be the case. My Grandma suffered a stroke on the day she was to go home. The doctors told us she would not recover and my Dad and his siblings had to make that awful decision, but it was my Grandma's wishes....

I remember spending as much time as I could at the hospital with the rest of my family. It was a difficult time for everyone. Anyone that has gone through this will understand when I say, I just wanted it to be over. I just wanted God to take her and not suffer anymore, even though the doctors had told us she was not in pain.

I remember having plans to go out with my friends to a hockey game. We had made these plans over a month ago. They were retiring some jersey numbers of some of our old NHL hockey team, The Whalers. I had told my Dad that I had mixed emotions about going. I didn’t want to leave the hospital and I felt as though I shouldn’t be out having fun with my friends. He told me that Grandma would want me to go and she knew how much I loved my Ron Francis and my Whalers. I decided to go.

Before I left for the game, I asked for some alone time with Grandma. After everyone had left the room, I went to my Grandma’s side and just started talking to her. She was so heavily medicated that I really didn’t know if she could hear me. I thanked her for all the wonderful talks we had and for everything she had done for me over the years. As I sat there holding her hand and crying, she turned her head and looked up at me, and a tear rolled down her cheek. She also squeezed my hand. I knew right then and there she heard my words. I knew at that moment that it was OK to go to the hockey game. My Grandma passed away a few days later but it was OK, because we had said our good-byes.

I have so many wonderful memories of her….

I remember when I was little; I would see my Dad on Saturdays. My parents divorced when I was only 5 so I don’t even have any memories of them together. But I do remember going over my Grandparents house every Saturday.

I remember when I would get to their house, I would have to find Grandpa and give him a kiss. Over time this became a game. Where is Grandpa? Is he in his garden? My Grandpa was Italian and his garden was his pride and joy. Was he in the screen house resting? Was he in the basement working? Among many things my Grandpa was a shoemaker, was he fixing a pair of shoes? Or could he be in the den watching TV or should I say watching bowling. That was something my Grandparents did together on a regular basis, they bowled. They belong to a senior league and I’m not bragging when I say they were both great bowlers. The trophies in the living room speak for themselves. No matter where my Grandpa was I would find him and give him a kiss and then I was off to spend time with Grandma. I always knew exactly where to find her, the kitchen.

My Grandma was the best cook ever! Every Saturday she would make us homemade pizza. Occasionally she would mix it up with “macaroni”, or as most people call it pasta. I would always get to pick what kind I wanted. I always picked the ziti or penne and Grandma would say the short ones were her favorite too.

After lunch, my Dad and Grandpa would go into the den and watch TV and my Grandma and I would talk in the kitchen as she washed the dishes. We talked about everything over the years. I would talk to her about my little brother and how it was to be a big sister and not an only child anymore. My Mom got remarried when I was 6 or 7 and my brother came along when I was 10. We would talk about school and eventually boys. As I got older I can remember talking to her about “Dallas”, the TV show. We would talk about last week’s episode and try and figure out what was going to happen next week. Oh yeh, who shot J.R.?

Once the dishes were done, the cards would come out. We could play cards for hours. When I was little, our game was “four kings in a corner”. I loved that game. As the years went on, I would graduate to playing “rummy” or “setback”, but four kings in a corner will always be my favorite. As we played cards we would also snack on something. Some of my favorite memories are making chocolate milk with nestle quick or eating chocolate pudding with whipped cream. I always loved the thick skin that formed on top of the pudding. And then of course there was Grandma’s most famous line….there’s always room for Jell-O. It’s funny cause even today at family gatherings we still say that.

Sometimes if the weather was nice, we would go for a walk. The park was only a few blocks away. We would play on the swings. And even sometimes we would walk to “Friendly’s” and get an ice cream cone. I loved our afternoon walks. I remember once we walked to a Russian Bizarre. My Grandma was Russian and I remember walking around and looking at all the memorabilia.

As I got older and after my Grandpa passed away, my Grandma eventually sold the family house and moved into a condo. I was very fortunate; she lived right down the street from me. Sometimes I would go over her house after work for dinner, and we would just talk. I remember once I decided to take an Italian language course, and she would help me with my homework.

One of my fondest memories was when she and I spent all afternoon making a family tree. First we did my Grandpa’s side and then we did her side. I loved talking and making the trees together. As we added a new person, she would tell me a story about them.

I also loved to talk to her about New York City and where she used to live and work before moving to Hartford. She used to tell me stories about her apartment in Brooklyn. She lived by Greenwood Cemetery and she used to tell me that she would bring the stroller through the cemetery and she loved to read the street signs, Angel’s Way and Heaven's Lane etc.

My Dad and I eventually went to Brooklyn to see if we could find her old apartment. We did and let me tell you it was the coolest thing ever. I was standing in front of the building and my Grandma was on my cell phone describing everything to me as I stared at it. Then she told me to stand in the middle of the street and tell her what I saw. It was a good thing the street wasn’t busy and so I did. It was so cool; in the distance you could see the Statue of Liberty. I had goose bumps through out our phone conversation. It was like she was there with me. Later my Dad and I took the subway to Avenue P to see where my Grandpa used to work as a shoe maker. We would find the building, but it had been turned into a party supply shop.

I could go on and on with the memories......such fond memories......

And even though this past year has been a difficult one I know I have a special Angel looking down on me…..I love you Grandma.

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