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Posts Tagged ‘grandma’

Wow!!! It’s been more than two months since I last posted. WTF? How inconsiderate of me. Sorry blog.

The first week of November I attended a press trip to Wisconsin to tour the Dairyland’s famous creameries. After three days of eating more cheese than I thought my body could handle, I received an early morning phonecall from a sad sad voice.

It was mom. My grandma had passed away. The week prior she had been back in the hospital with pneumonia and a broken arm. I had visited her on a Saturday afternoon.

“Ooooh hiiii!” She laughed when I walked in as if she had been secretly expecting me. I am not sure she knew who I was but she was glad to see someone familiar and have some company.

She told me some borderline coherent stories, most of which included the name “George” (my grandpa) and she hollered at the moaning woman she was stuck sharing a room with: “Ohhhh shut up! What are you complaining about?”

Then to me: “What is HER problem?”

I rubbed her head till she started to doze. When I stopped she perked up again and asked me if I was leaving. I couldn’t make out the words but the disappointment was clear.

I told her I was “going to check on grandpa… George.”

She giggled with her eyes closed and asked what he was doing and what he was going to eat for dinner since she couldn’t make him anything. I promised I’d bring him something delicious to eat. (We had Olive Garden that night, his favorite.)

“Ok. You better go then.” Thats grandma; always putting someone else first.

“I love you grandma!”

“Oooooh ha, I love you too!” And when she squeezed my hand, I knew it was the last time I was going to see her. Just for a flash; I could sense that this was it…

… so I gave her a kiss and the biggest smile I could conjure up while sucking in the tears.

A few weeks later we celebrated her life with a wake full of photos, stories and smiles. She was not only one of the happiest persons that I knew, but she had spread her infectious positivity everywhere she went and with everyone she met.

At some point in the mourning process it occurred to me, ‘this was the first time I had lost someone close to me.’

At the ripe age of 29, I’m pretty damn lucky to make this claim. At the same time, it was unfamiliar territory.

I didn’t feel like blogging. I didn’t feel like advertising it on Facebook. I didn’t feel like telling people and hearing condolences. I just wanted to sit with it, digest it and accept it.

So I did.

Every time Ive sat down to type since, I didnt know where to start. I couldnt write about anything until I wrote about her… and I didn’t know what to say.

Two days ago my friend told me his grandma died. My grief popped its ugly head but this time it left me smiling. I miss her… especially at the holidays… but she lived with a smile so I better too.

There’s been a lot else going on as well. Following Wisconsin I took off on a couple more business trips, including a second landing in San Francisco which only heightened my desire to live there. I had the chance to wander around Union Sq and reminisce about my run. Ahhhhh. Remember that? Did I mention I ran a half marathon in San Fran?

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$60 of cheese I brought home from the Madison Farmers Market — the largest producer market in the country.

I’ve kept up the running. Didn’t even stop for that freak blizzard/storm that hit the tri-state area in October. Actually, instead of staying warm/dry, Azzy, Kenny and I ran/climbed/jumped our way through the Men’s Health Urbanathlon — a military-style obstacle course with an urban/city-twist. You know, like climbing over taxi cabs and MTA buses, army crawling under chain link fences and jumping traffic cones.

The course was 9.something miles with 8 obstacles, two of which were running staircases at Arthur Ashe Stadium and Citifield. We split the bee-otch up and relayed it, each taking on a 3ish-mile section.

It was awesome.

It was HARD.

When we saw the course map, I begged for the section that included monkey bars… I don’t want toot my own horn, but I kinda rocked the monkey bars as a kid. All good right?! That section also included military hurdles. Those mothereffers were like 5-foot-something high. Thank god some Greg T (Z100) lookalike showed up and let me step on his back. Otherwise I’d have failed my team. Note to self: must exercise upper body more.

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Us enjoying the beer tent after the race.

Anyways. It was awesome. I’ve kept with the running since and ran a PR Turkey Trot 5k, signed up for two NYRR races in January, including the Manhattan half-marathon, and entered the lottery for the NYC Half and the ING NYC Marathon. What did I do?

Then as an early Christmas gift I went and gave myself tendinitis in the bottom of my right foot — legwarmers were the culprit — and have been out of commission for two+ weeks.

IM GOING CRAZY!!!!!!

My awesome podiatrist is “cautiously optimistic” that I can run the half on Jan 21st, and I’ll be playing with my gal in Conn this weekend instead of running the Joe Kleinerman 10K. *tear*

It was kinda convenient that this happened now — I’ve been working on a project at work that has actually been taking all my evening time so I haven’t had to voluntarily compromise running time. And the new website looks gooooood.

With that said, it’s a new year! I am making 2012 the year of SMILES AND POSITIVITY!!!

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Anything for Grandma!

Grandma and I hanging out with Max (the dog we fostered for 6 months) at the park.

This Saturday Grandma and I had our first Facebook lesson. Since it was the first time out, all we really covered was opening an account for her and showing her what it looks like. I’d been saying for a while now that I was going to do this — and even got an old eMac (with low resolution so the letters are big) specifically for her. However, each time I mentioned it she chuckled and shot me a look that said “Yeah riiiight, oooo-kay.” I think the look meant to imply both “When are you gonna get around this?” as well as “Me? Facebook? I don’t think so!”

So when she finished looking at photos of her new great-grandson on my account at the desktop and I turned my laptop around and exclaimed, “Check it out! I made you your own,” I half expected to be met with a dismissive handwave as she walked away.

Instead, she watched attentively. And when I explained the concept of having “friends,” she began asking questions, ‘What about this person; are they on here? Can I see this? Can I see that?’ She was tooooootally into it!

She rocks!

We added all the family members we could find, and even found four people from her high school ‘class of 192x.’ She didn’t remember any of them, but I think she liked seeing other people her age participating.

The next night we found the group my aunt made for her family, appropriately titled “Descendents of [grandma’s mom and dad].” My aunt put it together when my grandma’s sister passed away, making my grandma the last of her siblings. Grandma has had fun going through old photos and my aunt and her cousins are having fun trying to remember where the pictures are from.

Grandma had never seen the group in real-time, so we sat down and went through the 72 photos. She explained who was who, who had joined the army, where they had traveled to, how they ended up on the west coast, yada, yada. I felt ashamed at one point when I realized I couldn’t name all her sisters and brothers. Of course they were younger in the photo than I’d ever seen any of them, but still… what kind of granddaughter am I?

One photo in particular stood out. My great-uncle had moved to Cali after the war and got married there. The wedding photo posted is the only wedding photo anyone has ever seen of the event. Apparently something happened with the photographer and they never received the wedding photos. When one of his kids found this one photo and posted it, it was the first time my grandma had ever seen him and his bride in their wedding attire. “My parents never went to the wedding,” she told me. “They didn’t have the money.”

Wow! I thought about the reaction someone would have this day in age if their parents said they couldn’t afford to attend their wedding. Forget that, I’ve seen brides freak out on their girlfriends for not attending a destination bachelorette party that’s gonna run them $800 for three days. I mean, they have reality TV shows based on demanding, uncompromising brides. And here, my grandma had never even seen her brother and his bride on their big day. Wow!

Another cool thing was my grandma’s wedding dress. She bought it at Saks for $50 — which she notes, “was a lot back then!” She wore it and two of her sisters-in-law wore it. Her daughter would have also worn it, had not been slightly destroyed from a run through the washing machine. (Note: Don’t put satin in the washing machine!) And the veil my grandma wore? Her sister-in-law in Cali it to her (the one who’s wedding she couldn’t attend), and two more people wore it after her. Talk about getting use out of your wedding gear.

And here we are, worried about wearing the same dress to two different weddings, of people who don’t know each other, and we’re only guests.

I couldn’t help but wonder after that: What are we looking for when we shop? Does it make us happier?

Every story my grandma has is one of happiness. It was one that brought a smile to her face. And none of them were about shopping or buying things or any stuff she owned. The stories were about the people she loved and the things she did with them.

I’m an adult. (Or at least I like to think so.) Years ago, I thought that at this point in my life I’d be living it up in the city. And I guess I could be. But when I stop and think about it, I recognize all the time I’ll miss not being near Grandma.

Saturday breakfasts on the patio where I ramble all my blog ideas to her and she confirms that they are awesome. (She’s an amazing confidence booster!) Her rants about the Mets blowing it in the last inning. (She’s been watching them for decades and she still seems surprised when they do that!) Sunday night dinners when she decides to stray from her usual cheese and crackers diet and whips up a meatloaf. And weekend mornings when I plead for help at Wordscraper on Facebook because my friend is always 200 points ahead of me. (Ever play a game with her? She doesn’t know the meaning of losing! Always get her on your team!) Or how cute she is when she asks ME for help on a crossword puzzle. She knows I’m crap at them so when she asks I know she’s really desperate.

Hanging at home with her reminded me of what I’d miss. And what I do miss when I’m running around like a lunatic trying to tame life.

But she says that our running around is what keeps her young. So if I’m her fountain of youth, I guess I’ll keep running around like a lunatic.

Anything for grandma!

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