Category Archives: grandmas


Coraline and Abuela Lupe

Today would have been my Abuela Tulita’s birthday. She’s been gone far longer now than she was in my life, but I miss her every day. I know she would have loved Coraline’s spunky personality, curly hair, love of all cheeses, and the button nose she inherited from her.
Which is why I am so grateful that Coraline’s own abuela lives a few minutes away and is always happy to spend time with her — and with me.

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Grandma Lee

Song Lyric of the Day:

Somebody saved me from the world you left / If you’re gonna cry my tears / If you’re gonna hold my breath / If you’re gonna let me see the sun you set / Oh, I am lost and found / Oh, I am lost and found

Katie Herzig / “Lost and Found

My grandmother-in-law is being laid to rest this morning in Iowa. Grandma Lee passed away last Thursday after suffering a stroke. And even though she reached the impressive age of 99, I think I took it for granted that she would live forever — she was just so spunky and full of life that it’s hard to imagine that life would ever come to an end.

I first met her back in 1998 when I accompanied Rich to Iowa for the first time. Grandma Lee was a tiny little thing — tiny but mighty. Mighty enough to have raised four kids. Mighty enough to have been a nurse. Mighty enough to beat breast cancer. And lord, was that woman quick with a comeback. Her snappy wit could (and probably did) cause whiplash in those fortunate enough to be witness to it.

The last time I saw her was September 2011. It’s really hitting home for me that the last time I saw her was truly the last time I would ever see her. Which is why I’m writing this through yet more tears. But I was lucky enough that my last visit with her was also the first (and only) time she would meet her great-granddaughter Coraline, which was a wonderful thing to behold. Coraline was almost 1 year old and more interested in running around the nursing home than sitting still, but I still managed to get some nice shots of her with Grandma Lee. While Grandma Lee didn’t quite remember me, she did remember her grandson Rich and knew that Coraline was his daughter.

I wish with all my heart I could be there with our family in Iowa to not only say my final farewell to Grandma Lee, who treated me like one of her own grandkids, but to be there to console my husband and father-in-law and our many other relatives as they lay this sweet, incredibly beloved woman to rest. I may be mourning from afar, but I hope everyone there knows I’m with them in spirit.

After our visit to Iowa, Rich’s Aunt Linda sent Coraline the most amazing birthday present, a hardbound book of photos from our visit with Grandma Lee. And while Coraline will never remember on her own meeting her great-grandma, Rich and I will never forget.

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What’s Going On

Song Lyric of the Day:

And when I cry for me I cry for you / With tears of holy joy / For all the days you’ve still to come / And did I ever say I’d never play / Or fly toward the sun / Maybe in the meantime, something’s missing

Spacehog / “In the Meantime

I’ve been AWOL for a while. As those close to me know, my grandma-in-law has been hospitalized since mid-September. In the time since then, I’ve been an emotional basketcase. While she’s still fighting — and improving (thank God) — on a daily basis, I’ve been dealing with all my emotional baggage over my lost grandparents as a result. So I’ve been crying easily and a lot. (Shower cries really are the best; where better to get all snotty and blotchy faced than the best place to clean up immediately after?)

I’ve been slowly starting to feel better these last few days, so Caren encouraged me to write about it and to go ahead and go live with a few posts I wrote between now and then which, due to my basketcaseness, I’d decided against posting. I even added an email link to my left nav bar after noticing the mailer Rich created for me wasn’t working anymore, for who knows how long.

Despite — or maybe because of — the drama of late, I’ve managed to do the unthinkable: write. I’ve been getting into the habit of working on my book, something I’ve needed to do. And wanted to, only to be stopped dead in my tracks by both my fear of failure and my inner editor, who can be quite the bitch: That paragraph you just wrote? You should really go back and change that first sentence. That’s right — go back, not forward. But really? I want Rich to pony up my Pottery Barn desk.

I’m almost back to normal, I think, because I really, really, really want to catch up on my TiVo queue. The new fall TV season is a bear, so new and old shows alike are stacking up unwatched. I’m just hoping my TiVo can keep up with the demand.

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Bad News

Song Lyric of the Day:

Over the times we’ve shared / It’s all blackened out / And my bat lightning heart / Wants to fly away

Bat for Lashes / “What’s a Girl to Do

Rich got a call last night that his Grandma Edwards had a mild heart attack. The doctors discovered that her recent fainting spells were actually mild heart attacks, as well, and that her heart capacity is at 15%. I let our family and closest friends here know right away, to ask them to pray. Coming the day after I marked my grandmother’s anniversary, I’m not handling the news too well, and spent most of the work day trying not to cry in my cubicle. But I’m trying to be strong for Rich, because it’s a very real possibility she may not make it. And that’s too scary to
think about right now.

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Revisiting Grief

Song Lyric of the Day:

All these things should make me happy / Make me happy to be alone again / But love is not these belongings / That surround me / Though there’s meaning / In the memories they hold / A breaking heart in an empty apartment / Was the loudest sound I never heard

The Submarines / “Brighter Discontent

As usual, the day after my birthday is an emotional crash for me. It has been since the day my maternal grandmother died the day after I turned 12. She’s been gone 21 years now, and I still cry for her as if she’d passed away only recently. And mourning her always leads to me mourning my other lost grandparents; this is why it’s so easy for me to spiral into a full-on depression around this time of year.

This year is twice as hard. Because today is the day my niece or nephew was due to be born. I like to think that he or she is with Abuela Tulita. I don’t know why, since it’s something so insignificant, but it makes me feel a little bit better to think they’re together. But only a little bit.

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Abuela Maria

Song Lyric of the Day:

May God’s love be with you / Always / May God’s love be with you

Joseph Arthur / “In the Sun”

My grandmother died this morning. Mom called a little while ago and said, “I’m sorry I have to tell you this…” and I knew. Abuela Maria died at 6:39AM this morning. She was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and was hospitalized with pneumonia. My parents visited her just a few weeks ago, and she no longer recognized my mother. The last time I saw her was summer 2003. I’m grateful that I was able to see her fairly recently, but I keep remembering how we both started crying when we said goodbye, like we knew it would probably be the last time we saw each other. And now I just can’t stop crying.

All I can do is treasure the few, precious memories I have of her and know that at least when I remember her, it’s when she was still able to remember me.


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