I tried to update my blog last night but couldn’t. I just sat at the computer and stared at the ceiling waiting for some little bit of inspiration to carry the blog but nothing came and I eventually just clicked off the internet and went to watch four hours of t.v.
Grandmother (seated), with my mom, Marybeth, to the right. Fresno Fig Garden Books, October 2007
My grandmother died yesterday afternoon around 4:30. My uncle had just been with her and he’d told Grandma that yesterday was her 75th wedding anniversary and that Grandpa was waiting for her. He told her to go to him and he left the hospital. She died within an hour.
I knew she was dying. They thought she wasn’t going to make it through Thursday night but she did–cause that’s my grandma–and all weekend I checked my phone, waiting to see if I’d gotten the call yet that she’d gone. And then finally it came, but it was a voice mail from my mom as I was working downstairs and didn’t hear my cell phone ring upstairs.
It’s good I was alone yesterday. My boys were with their dad and I just felt very quiet, and sad, but quiet. I thought of all the things that would change, realized that Grandma’s house will be sold and all her things distributed and when I go to Fresno now, I won’t have anywhere to go. I’ve always gone to Grandma’s. Since 1965 Grandma’s house has been my second home. It’s not a fancy house but it has books and books and comfortable old couches and tons of family photos in frames. There are the antique rifles that were my grandfather’s, and her piano and organ in the living room. I will miss her Venetian chandalier with its blue and clear glass and her walls in the kitchen covered in all the knick knacks my brothers, sister and I made for her growing up in scouts and our church youth group.
I will miss her chicken cookie jar.
Her red threadbare Persian carpets in the family room.
The stained glass windows hung inside the family room windows.
The pile of newspapers on top of the tv next to the dictionary stand with its enormous dictionary.
I will miss the way she loves all things Purdue.
I will miss her so much but I am grateful to have had her in my life this many years. She believed in me. She believed I could succeed as a writer. She helped me secure my first agent. When I was twenty-eight years old, she proofread my USF graduate project, a manuscript nearly 900 pages long, when my old Mac’s spellcheck died and I was scrambling to get it finished. She very neatly corrected my typos, using small sticky notes in the margins to give the proper spelling. Pensi, she wrote on one yellow sticky note, after lightly underlining the word in the manuscript, should be spelled p-e-n-i-s.
Ah, Grandma. Thank you. So that’s how it’s spelled.
And oh Grandma, I’m really going to miss you. My feisty brainy hard working, hard charging grandmother. When I finish growing up, I want to be just like you.