Favorite Memories

I’m back home now; I’ve been in West Texas all week. I flew out there Tuesday morning to care for my mom¬†and keep her company. It was a rough week but we got through it. My mom’s friends were so sweet, bringing by flowers and food. I made up large dishes of food for my dad and brother to eat this weekend. We cleared out my grandma’s things from her room at the care facility.

The worst part was seeing my dear granddad, so proud and silent. My heart hurts for him. I’m glad we could be there for him, but I fear that the hardest part will be the coming weeks. After everyone goes home, my granddad will be left in a quiet home without his wife.

I don’t have much to say this week. I miss her and if it’s all right with you, I’d like to memorialize a few of my favorite memories:

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My grandma was Italian, full-blooded Italian, with all that entails. Everything needed to be done exactly as she wanted, or so help you. She was stubborn. She was passionate. She loved us with every fiber of her being and cared for us as best she could. She made the best cherry pie you would ever eat (and I don’t even like cherries). My mom once came home late in the evening to find grandma making her pie. When my mom asked, grandma said that my brother had told her that he desperately needed her pie because my mom’s just didn’t cut it.

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My grandma loved to play cards and was always up for a game. Although she had a standing Sunday game with friends, she always made time to play poker with her grandkids. The only problem was that, with us, she was never suspicious. My brother and cousin used to con their way through hands and win the entire pot with single cards while my grandma would fold with pairs or triples. They used to think they were so cunning, but maybe my grandma just enjoyed playing their little game.

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As I’ve mentioned, I danced all through grade school and college. My grandma never missed a single recital. Even when she had difficulty getting around and could hardly sit for more than ten minutes, she still made it. She used to love to watch me dance and I loved having her there. Some of her favorite pieces were the liturgical pieces we did every year. She would have tears in her eyes when I’d come out after the performance. She was so proud and she made me feel so beautiful. Her favorite was a routine to Josh Groban’s rendition of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” We played the song at her memorial, but I wish I could have danced for her one last time.

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When I was young, we had three mini schnauzers. My grandma insisted that she did not like the dogs. We would tease her that she could have one – she could have all three! But no, she didn’t like the pups. However, I’ll give you one guess as to who they followed around the house every time she came over. We think she gave them treats when no one else was home.

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I truly believe my grandma is in a better place. She was in so much pain; her mind slipping away without her consent. I hope that, wherever she is, she’s watching over us. I hope she gets to see her great-grandchildren. I hope she’s happy and I hope we make her proud.

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