My maternal Grandma passed away on January 1st, 2019 at the age of 91 years old. She was my last living Grandmother.
I was lucky enough to have 4 Grandparents in my life, all the way up until my first Grandfather passed away when I was 27. I will cherish the years I had with my Grandparents, especially these last few with my Grandma Joan.
I am just about to enter into my 7th month of pregnancy. My Grandma passed away just a few months short of getting to meet her first Great Granddaughter (she had 4 Great Grandsons who’s he knew and cherished dearly!)
I had the opportunity to share with my Grandma before she passed that her Great Granddaughter would have her name. There is no doubt in my mind there is some connection between my baby girl and my Grandma. The presence I have felt from my Grandma Joan in the last month is overwhelmingly strong. Maybe it’s just her and my baby girl hanging out together.
Whatever the lessons are, they will continue to unfold as one cycle comes to an end, and another cycle begins. Knowing that my Grandma is watching over us will always make me smile.
Here is a letter I wrote to her a couple weeks after she passed away. It is by no means a forever goodbye. It simply marks the end of a physical relationship as we knew it for 35.5 years. Our spiritual relationship will continue to evolve…
In processing your life, and death, over the past 3 weeks I know one thing is for certain: There is nothing in this world that is more powerful than a Grandmothers Love.
Having you close to my heart and an active participant in my life for 35 amazing years is something I will hold dear to me for the rest of my life.
You helped shape me into the woman I am today, and I have no doubt you will continue to show up for me in my life, and in my daughters life, in countless ways moving forward. Having your legacy and your memories to hold onto give me the strength and confidence I will need in the months to come as I continue transitioning into my new role as Mother.
I knew having you in my life for this long was special, but the depth of that started to sink in as I thought about coming back to Merrill knowing your physical presence wouldn’t be here this time. After all, you and Mom always gave me the best homecomings! You’d be waiting at the door in anticipation for my arrival, with a big hug, a hot meal, and all the time in the world to catch up. Love and attention like that only come from those who care for you on the deepest level and I can’t tell you how much those memories have meant to me over the years.
I find a lot of comfort in knowing that’s exactly the homecoming you received when you decided to transition on. And even with all the much-deserved love and attention YOU must have received leaving this world, I know you selflessly shared some of that love with those of us still on Earth because I have felt your presence strongly in the last few weeks.
There are endless things I admire and respect you for. One of the most important ones to me however, was your passion and gift of expressing yourself in writing. You were the Queen of Cards - thank you cards, catching-up cards, cards just to let you know you’re thinking of me, and my all-time favorite - the “I’m worried about you” cards.
Getting your letters in the mail when you just knew I needed a little guidance and support was timeless. I have a hug box of them that I continue to pull from when your wisdom is needed. It’s my own personal Grandma Joan’s Tarot Deck!
In these letters you shared your honest, blunt, and and concerning advice, often accompanied by personal accounts of how you faced the same obstacles in your life. These written letters were gold to me - I heard and respected every word you said and they backed me so much in turning any challenge into a victory for personal growth.
Those same humbling letters always held a paragraph in closing, (or 2 or 3), re-assuring me that no matter how many steps forward or backward I needed to take to get to where I was capable of going, that I already had your 100% love and approval no matter what. You always gave me permission to be Hollis, even when I was being stubborn and felt stuck. You somehow knew how to gently guide me in the direction of finding that successful outcome.
I also want to share a few of the little things that I will continue to pull from as life goes on without you…
Strawberries and Cream Instant Oatmeal will always be my favorite comfort food. It’s what you fixed for me all growing up and it still has a warm Grandmothers Love nostalgia.
I promise to use the word “piddle” in reference to “peeing” as much as possible, if for no other reason than for my own personal amusement. I don’t know why, but every time you said that word - which was often - it always made me LOL.
I also promise to teach my children what a BM is, and will remind thaem that having one everyday is a benchmark for good health! I don’t think a day went by in 35 years that you neglected to ask me about my digestive function!
I will never take it personally when someone hangs up the phone on me without saying goodbye. That also made me giggle, that when you were done talking you just hung up the phone. You had said what you needed to say, heard what you needed to hear, and onto the next order of business for the day.
And lastly, it was evident that patience was your strong suite. (Just ask anyone who knew Grandpa Bob!). I have plenty of these funny memories of your interactions in dealing so graciously with Grandpa (probably not so funny on your end), to remind me that patience is necessary - in marriage, parenting, Grand-parenting, business, and so forth. You’ll be my constant reminder that there is ALWAYS room for growth in this arena.
in closing Grandma, I know that this is far from any kind of “goodbye”.
This is simply a closure to the relationship we had fro 35 years and a beginning to our new relationship that will last for the rest of my living years.
I will miss calling you and having the warm homecomings I was so used to, but in exchange for these creature comforts, I get something even better… I get you as a Guardian Angel. My heart, and my soul, are more comforted by knowing this than any phone call or could ever be.
I look forward to seeing signs of you touching down in our lives from here on out! Thank you for everything Grandma. I love you so much.