A letter I wrote to my grandma about one week before she died.
I never got the chance to mail it to her, but I did get to read it at her funeral.
So I like to think she got it just the same.
You always knew the secret to being not just a good, but the best grandma. You perfected the art of making every grandchild feel like your favorite grandchild. And it wasn’t just by being there at every junction in my life, that wasn’t the best thing you did.
You know what has been the most meaningful? The most memorable? The best? For me it was lying in bed at night down in the basement, listening as you slowly rocked in that old chair singing as we all fell asleep. It was knowing you were there not just for the important or big things, although you were, but for the everyday things as well. It was the comfort it gave me, even when I couldn’t see you through the darkness, of knowing you were there. And it was knowing, that when morning came, you would be there again, this time with a lively tune to wake us up.
It was working alongside you in the garden or plant room as you shared your secrets of how to grow practically everything. And it was sitting beside you at the sewing machine or in the kitchen watching you work your magic of creation, painstakingly teaching me along the way.
Grandma, it was you setting up the old typewriter with fresh ink pads and blank pages, just so I could type on it, even though it was mostly nonsense and even though it could usually only hold my attention for a few short minutes. It was listening to me repeatedly pound out simple tunes on the piano, and calling them masterpieces.
It was the time you spent picking peppermint leaves with us from the garden and then teaching us the fine art of making mint tea. It was you helping us craft a stellar lemonade stand. And becoming our cohort as we brought home stray dogs, and cats, and fish, and frogs, and anything else living that we knew you would instantly love as much as we did, and as certainly as grandpa would instantly hate.
It was you endlessly blowing giant bubbles using a bucket full of dish soap in the front yard. And setting up the slip and slide at the side of it. It was picking up all us soggy tubers at the end of a long day with dry towels and taking us home to warm soup and homemade bread, and a hot bath. It was founding the cousins club, and arranging tea parties and indulging us at breakfast in pancake animals.
It was you being there when as teenagers we arrived home late at night, and talking grandpa down when he was angry because we had. It was you heating up beanbags and mugs of postum when we were sick. It was siding with and defending us when we needed it most, and then with our parents when they needed it. It was the much-needed hugs, the ever-helping hands, the kind words, and even the gentle reprimands. Grandma, it was the late-night visits, and baking amadama bread, and telling us stories of when you were little. It was the feasts you created that brought all the family together, and the way you still somehow always know what we are up to, and are genuinely interested.
It’s impossible to picture my life without you in it. Not the Christmases, or the summers, or the time I will spend raising children and grandchildren of my own, children who will never know firsthand how amazing you are.
If I was to craft a perfect Grandma I can’t think of a single thing I would add to what you already are. I hope someday to be to my grandchildren what you have been for me, and mean to them as much as you have meant to me. I hope they will know that is was you, my dear sweet grandmother, who first showed me how to be not just a good, but the very best of grandmas.
And it is for all these things, and so many others, that I want to say thank you. And that I love you.