1 year ago today, my grandmother passed away. It was sad and kind of sudden, but she was 87 years old. She had a great life, she really did. Gail Lillian Somes Hadley was magnificent.
I think about her often. She was just such a great grandmother. My brother and I are her only grandchildren, and she loved us both so much. Whenever we went over to her house she had some home made dessert waiting for us, or a snack. She made the best peach cobbler or cookies. She loved to cook and bake and made sure no one was ever hungry when they were with her.
She also never missed a recital, baseball game, theatre performance, or any other activity we were a part of.
One year on Thanksgiving when I was little I remember getting upset about something and crying, and she came over and sat with me to comfort me and make me feel better. It’s funny how I have no recollection about what I was upset about, but I will never forget her comforting nature that day.
If we were sick, she came and sat with us so my parents could go to work. We would watch tv and she would sit in the living room with us all day, probably knitting whatever sweater she was working on at that time.
She loved our yellow lab George so much. George knew it too, always sitting by her because he knew she would slip him something under the table. Dogs are so smart.
I always knew I could talk to her about anything, I called her a lot when I moved out here to Idaho, she was just the best.
Recently when I moved away from MA, we were pen pals, writing each other letters, and of course she would include a little gift in mine, some cookies or a gift card.
My dad would go over to her house and show her my news stories that I did, or if I was anchoring he would pull that up and show her too.
I sometimes wish I could call her up now and just talk to her. Tell her about my life, although I’m sure she knows.
We would talk about my dream wedding some day, what colors I wanted and where I wanted to get married. She said she would do my hair in pretty curls like she did for my prom.
I learned a lot from her, about generosity and love and loyalty, but I learned the most important lesson from her after she was gone.
Let me tell you about it. When she passed away, my family planned a wake and a funeral for her. The wake was on Tuesday night and the funeral was on Wednesday.
Tuesday night, we were all there at the wake and when I tell you that EVERYONE she knew came, I mean EVERYONE she knew came. And they were all sharing memories and stories and jokes and it was beautiful. I mean, all these cousins, and nieces and nephews, and friends, and my parents friends, and her friends, and her sister and brother in law, and my friends, and her family, and neighbors, and her daughter’s friends and of course her husband. I could go on. And, I thought how amazing it was that all these people took time out of their life to come say goodbye to her.
It was sad, but it was also kind of amazing, because they were remembering her as this person who cared so deeply about people, and never forgot important milestones.
People were recalling Thanksgivings from years ago, and fun trips to Cape Cod, and Christmas parties, and hand made sweaters that she knit for them or their child, people were remembering her, who she was and what kind of an impact she had on their life.
I always worry that I won’t be successful, that I’m not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough, and it’s kind of sad that I had this realization at my grandmother’s funeral, but NONE of that matters.
Because Grammy was a successful nurse but I don’t think that was brought up once at the funeral. Instead what was brought up was who she was, deep into her soul. She was amazing and kind and generous and loving and caring. And THAT is what matters.
It’s sad that we wait until people are gone to tell them our favorite things about them. I hope she knows how much of an impact she had on my life, and always will.
I think she’s up in heaven playing Bridge with her friends and her sister, eating some trout (her favorite food) and laughing without being in any pain. And I know she’s hanging out with George as well. Probably going on walks with him every day.
I know I’ll see you again someday, until then, I love you, every day.