My last remaining grandparent passed away yesterday. My Babci had spent the last five years in a nursing home and the last few days had been especially bad for her. She’d been sick for a long time and although my mind knows that this is for the best (she hated living like this, when really for the last year it was merely “existing”), my heart is still understandably sad. Though, truthfully, knowing that she is at peace and in a much better place now does make it easier for me.
The other day I read this quote, “Remember how they lived, not how they died” and I have been thinking about that a lot. My grandmother was a wonderful, amazing person who (and I mean this in the best possible way) could also frustrate you beyond belief with her stubbornness. It’s who she was.
She loved reading the Boston Herald and Star magazine. She was incredibly interested in politics and volunteered every election day to help with voting, as long as she could.
She canned gallons of string beans and tomatoes. She made the best pierogis, cabbage soup, and churst. She loved clothes, but rarely bought them new — she loved second-hand shops and her closets were jammed.
She swore like a sailor, which was pretty funny considering how very proper she acted otherwise.
When we were kids, on half-days of school she and our great-uncle would take us to either the Sunset Restaurant for the lunch special or to Ponderosa for the buffet before we walked around the Eastfield Mall. It used to drive me and Mike crazy that she had to stick an apple and a couple rolls in her purse.
Every spring she planted alyssum and marigolds and these small purple flowers (I can’t think of what they’re called) in the raised bed next to her house. She loved the Red Sox. And talk radio. And news programs. Every night she sat on her front porch and prayed the rosary (while simultaneously keeping a very close eye on the comings and goings of everyone on the street, LOL….).
She had the best laugh.
She sewed matching outfits for me and my brother for many holidays. She used to let me use her sewing machine and scraps to make blankets for my Barbie dolls. (And now I have heaps and heaps of unused rick-rack, binding, zippers, buttons and other notions, as well as a stack of fabric that she never used.)
She was a hard worker. She mowed her own lawn well into her 70s.
She got to meet and hold Jake, Noah, and Laura. (She was so relieved when she found out that our third child was going to be a girl; apparently girls take good care of their mamas when they get old — a testament to how amazing my own mother is, I think).
Having lived next door to her from birth until my Junior year in high school, I have so many memories as you can imagine. These are a just a few snippets of who she was. She was one of a kind and didn’t take guff from anyone. She was a great person and a wonderful grandmother.
I’ll miss you, Sophie.