Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She would have been 100 years old, a rare milestone, and one that she did not live to see. Earlier today I realized with a start that she left us nearly twenty years ago. It seems impossible for that much time to have passed.
I miss her all the time.
I was still in my twenties when I lost my three remaining grandparents within a two year time span. It was a lot to process, and still painful to remember. I wish I had been more attentive as an adult grandchild. I think I foolishly thought they would all live forever. Each one seemed so strong, and through the haze of happy childhood memories they seemed untouchable to me. Still in my own youth, I couldn’t see how quickly life changes, how soon a life is lived.
When I was a child, I was close to all my grandparents, but especially so with Grandmom. With her birthday occurring only a few days before my own, I always felt that we were kindred spirits, two of a special kind. She would call me BG (birthday girl, beautiful girl, best girl, but hopefully not bad girl!) and happily share her celebratory day with me. Now I realize that all her grandchildren felt special around her. That’s just the kind of person that she was.
I remember her as patient, kind, strong, and capable. I think it would be a fair to say that she was indulgent with her grandchildren, but never carelessly permissive. I wouldn’t have dreamed of misbehaving for her, and if I thought I had disappointed her I was immediately brought to tears, so highly did I value her opinion of me. She was iron-willed and outspoken, but never harsh or derisive. She showed me what it meant to be a strong woman.
In addition to the many hours she spent creating a warm and loving home, she worked diligently in her career as a Liscensed Practical Nurse. I feel this was a true calling for her. Long after her career officially ended she could be found offering tender and competent nursing care to friends, family – to anyone in need, really. I believe she inspired many, which would explain why several of her grandchildren followed in her footsteps.
I’m not sure when Grandmom earned her LPN degree. She married very young, and raised three children, so I have to wonder when she found the time. I suppose I always assumed it was a later in life career choice, but I never thought to ask her.
And now I can’t.
I miss my Grandmom always, but I admit that sometimes I am glad she wasn’t here to witness some of my poorer life choices. Now, as then, I can’t stand the thought of disappointing her. I suppose from her heavenly vantage point she knows about them anyway, so I take consolation in knowing that she views me always through the veil of Jesus’s love and grace.
With my own birthday fast approaching many people are asking, “what do you want?” I tell you truly, I would trade all the birthday gifts in the world for one more moment in my grandmother’s arms, and to hear her say, “Happy Birthday, BG!”, just one more time.
Happy Birthday, Grandmom! I love you!
P.S. Kiss Grandpop for me.