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Happy Birthday Grandma

July 21, 2010

I actually wrote this piece 2 years ago to the day. I think I might have even been sitting in this same spot with a cocktail, just as I am now, except that night there were tears in my eyes. Tonight, there is a faint smile where tears once were. I had planned another piece for today, but after reflection I still felt the need to post this tribute to my Grandma. Gone six years, but still in my heart, and of course, never forgotten. I love you, Grandma Deany.

Today was my Grandma’s birthday.  Normally, birthdays are a time of celebrating life, but for me it just marks another year of her being gone from my life.  Even after four years, the void her passing left in my life is yet to be filled.  They say that time heals all wounds…what they don’t say is how much time it actually takes.  

I actually thought I was doing better in dealing with her death the last couple of years.  But each year, two days never fail to throw me off kilter…they day she died and her birthday.  I knew today would be tough after a sleepless night of tossing and turning and staring at the clock.  It’s as if life goes on normally until July 21st, and then I’m reminded that the woman who meant so much to me is gone.  

One year, on her birthday, I remember the fit she threw when I called to wish her a happy birthday.  Because I lived far away, I had sent her flowers.  She gave me nine kinds of hell for wasting money on flowers that would die after a few days.  Didn’t I have anything better to spend my money on, she admonished me.  Then she ordered me to never send her flowers again and that a phone call was sufficient.  It took a few years before I actually was able to abide by her wishes…what else do you get a woman who wants for nothing to let her know you are thinking of her on her birthday? 

After the flower fiasco, I took to sending cards.  I’ll never forget the year I called on her birthday to hear another admonishment.  I must have really liked the card I sent her the previous year, because I actually went out the next year and bought the same exact card and sent it to her again, and boy, did she let me know it!  And I happen to know for a fact that she would have recognized this, because after her death, I came across every greeting card the woman received for her entire life.  

We had a good chuckle over that, and I think it was then that I realized that for Grandma, the best thing I could ever do for her birthday didn’t include presents, flowers, cards, or anything materialistic, for that matter.  Just a simple phone call, letting her know that I loved her, that I was thinking of her, and that I was celebrating the beautiful day the world was graced with her presence was more than enough.  

The only thing I didn’t learn that day was to cherish the time I had with her.  Sure, as I got older, I realized that one day she would be gone from my life.  But I don’t think it was until she became ill, that I realized I should have been treasuring every moment I had to spend with her or talk to her.  I took for granted those marathon phone calls when the miles separated us, and even more shameful, when I was finally able to move back home, I took those four miles between us for granted.  Oh, I can go over there anytime, I thought…tonight I’m too tired, or there are too many chores, or too many errands to run.  

Now staring at the sink full of dishes, and the toys scattered about the living room, and the laundry piling up, I’ve realized there is nothing more important in life than the people you love.  All of that stuff will still be there waiting for you after you’ve taken the time to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you.  It sounds so cliché, and maybe it’s one of those things in life you just can’t learn until it actually happens to you but, it’s definitely the hardest lesson I’ve ever learned.  

After you’ve spent time with those you love, after you’ve listened to them, after you’ve kissed and hugged them, take the time to say the words – I love you – My life would be empty without you – or whatever the words are for you.  Just say them.  Let them know that after they are gone, on the eve of their birthday, sleep will escape you and be replaced by a hurt so intense you are left feeling helpless…and that even though a time might come when 364 days pass before you realize they are gone from your life; you’ll never ever forget them. 

Happy Birthday, Grandma Deany.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2010 8:00 am

    Awww. She is still part of you even though she’s not here to admonish you. 😉 I miss my grandma too–I hear ya. Take care, and we funny bloggers SHOULD write serious once in a while (and you’re good at it too).

  2. July 22, 2010 9:43 am

    My mom’s birthday and anniversary just passed. She’s been gone for 5 years and I always get melancholy on those days but I try to think about the good times and what a great woman she was.

  3. July 23, 2010 8:53 am

    Thank you for reading 🙂

  4. Dionne Baldwin permalink
    July 27, 2010 2:40 am

    “I took those four miles between us for granted. Oh, I can go over there anytime, I thought…tonight I’m too tired, or there are too many chores, or too many errands to run.

    Now staring at the sink full of dishes, and the toys scattered about the living room, and the laundry piling up, I’ve realized there is nothing more important in life than the people you love. All of that stuff will still be there waiting for you after you’ve taken the time to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you. It sounds so cliché, and maybe it’s one of those things in life you just can’t learn until it actually happens to you but, it’s definitely the hardest lesson I’ve ever learned.”

    This is word for word how I feel about my own grandmother when she was alive and well. I feel as though I will never forgive myself for that. I will never make that mistake again. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  5. August 18, 2010 6:53 am

    Beneficial!!! Bookmarked this page that has this extremely good facts. Will come back to see if there are any updates. You, the author, are a master. Thanks

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