Tuesday, March 1, 2011

my sweet grandmother

Last year, I stopped blogging for several reasons.

In the small reasons department:  I made the mistake of setting up my blog when I was running the Chicago Marathon, which was awesome until about a week after it was over.  I struggled with how to define it after that huge goal was accomplished.  I also had quite a few issues with the technology aspect of it.  I think this time around, I'll be able to set it up to publish through my phone or iPad and I'm going to solely write from our Mac where all my photos were being stored anyway.  I may or may not have a Dell Mini on the market soon, but that's neither here nor there.  We were also approaching our wedding and I didn't want the blog to become wedding-centric because quite a few of our guests were reading and I hated to talk about all of the plans we were making and hard-work that we and our vendors were putting in.  I wanted our wedding to feel like a surprise to people, you know?

But one of the biggest reasons that I really struggled with my blog is because during all of the other things that were going on in the Casa de Nard Dogs is that my grandmother was slowly dying of lung cancer back in San Antonio.  It was something that I was not prepared to talk about at the time and I know that as I start to scratch the surface of telling her story now, it will probably be a difficult part of my grieving process.

My grandmother was, to me, a third parent.  The first phone number I ever knew was the one to her house (probably before the number to our own house!).  I don't remember a time when I wasn't able to call her and see what she was doing so we could go to her house that night.  She was an amazing cook in the way that many women of her generation are.  My grandmother could feed a house of 30 people as though it was nothing, which I have found out it was a skill she honed over years of feeding large groups of neighborhood kids that played with my dad and his siblings.

When my parents worried about paying for Kappa Delta, she offered to take care of that because she knew it would be an opportunity for me and that it was something I wanted to do.  I am forever grateful because I wouldn't be in the same place in life and probably not married to my husband without my experience in the sorority.

She left this world on December 4, 2010.  My family didn't want me to come home to see her because they felt it would have upset me.  I think she wanted very limited people to be around her during the last days of struggle.  Adam and I left on a plane home to San Antonio that afternoon.  The next day was my birthday and the first of the birthday dinners that I will go to from now on without her.  The first specific birthday dinner I can remember was when I was probably 7 or 8.  My parents told me that I could pick out any place that I wanted to go to because it was my birthday dinner.  I'm pretty sure I said something like, "I want to go to the restaurant on top of the Tower of the Americas and can Grandmother come too?".  For the rest of my birthdays, we always did a birthday dinner and I can't remember a time she wasn't there.  One of the benefits of having a December birthday is that I was usually home for Christmas at some point of the month, which was convenient timing for a birthday dinner.

The hardest part for me in the grief process of losing someone so close to me has been the little times when I'll scroll down and see "Grandmother" in the contacts of my phone.  I should probably change it but I know I won't because I still want to feel like I'm calling Grandmother's house when I am looking for my aunt and grandpa.  I had a major breakdown the day I got my current job because she would have been one of the first people I called to tell her about it.  As Adam and I have been going through some hard and stressful times, I have longed to hear her voice telling me to be stronger and handle it.  Sometimes I'm afraid that I won't be the same person I was before without her guidance in my life.  Most times, she was like the angel voice from a cartoon, telling me to do the right thing.  I suppose now, I'll just have to rely on her as only an angel voice and do what I think she would want me to do.

Out of all of the pictures we have of her, this one is one of my favorites because I remember how much it made us all laugh when she was in the intensive care unit in July.  Her hair was a hot mess so we started trying to comb it around.  I told her it was long enough to be in a mohawk and she let me "style" it for her.  I had to snap a picture because it was too amazing to not pass on.  For the record, my grandmother was way too proper to leave her mohawk in for more than about five minutes.  She was always getting after me to work on being a lady.

She'd probably think I am insane to post this on the blog but it was the first time I'd seen her smile since flying home at the spur of the moment when she was so sick.  It made me laugh, instead of cry, and even though it was in the hospital, it brings back a funny memory.

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