I wrote this "eulogy" in her honor a few weeks after she passed.
“I love you.”
My grandma was my second best friend, growing up. She ranked up there right alongside Michelle, my childhood, and current best friend.
Perhaps it was because I was the oldest grandchild, or perhaps because I lived closest, but my grandma and I have always had a very special bond.
I think it started when I was a newborn. My grandma’s house was the first and last house I lived in as a child. Not many people can say that. I was brought to her house to live for a short time after I was born, until my parents had a place of their own. Then, later in my childhood, after my grandma had moved out, my family moved in. I thought it was so cool to live there again. I claimed what was once my grandma’s bedroom as my own. And after we moved in, my grandma, for many years, was only two city blocks away. I would run away to my grandma’s house when my life was getting rough. I would spend the night frequently, just because I could, especially on school nights. In the winter, when I was younger, we’d both get up really early and meet at the corner of my block, and walk up town, in the dark, to the cafe, which my grandma and my aunts owned at the time. I’d help her get ready for the old men to come in and have coffee. She’d always make me hashbrowns with melted shredded cheese, and it was amazing!
My grandma and I embarked on many adventures, too. We would save change together, and then go shopping, or on a short road trip to visit my aunt in Iowa, for example. I still remember keeping all of our rolled coins in a baby wipes container in her bottom dresser drawer underneath older pants and towels. It was the hiding spot. I remember the placement of many things in her home. The children’s markers and good crayons were also in the bottom drawer. The top two drawers had cough drops and other random junk. In the closet in the hallway, the bottom was jam packed with craft supplies, including paint and wooden cut-outs for her grandchildren to play with. Often, grandma and I would make earrings for me to wear. They might not have been fashionable by any means, but they were very cool to me.
In the laundry room closet, grandma kept her cake supplies- tiers, little figurines, frosting tubes and tips, and food coloring. And as I got older, I learned how to work these items and would help my grandma, “the cake lady” as she was referred to as by my high school lunch line matrons, decorate and assemble cakes for customers in the area.
As time goes by, people get older, and many things change. I grew up and moved away, but my grandma and I always remained close. It was my dream that she’d be able to be there at my wedding day, and to make the cake. While she was not able to make the cake herself, her pans and her recipes were used by my aunt Debbie, and it was just as splendid as my grandma’s, and it meant just as much. My grandma was a part of it, the cake and the entire weekend.
Since my grandma moved to Revere, she and I had corresponded by the telephone, and by letters in the mail. Just a week or so ago I received another letter. I recently noticed a pattern in her letters that just blows me away to think about it. She begins and ends each letter with “I love you.”
My grandma always wanted us to know we were loved, before, and after she was gone. I hope and pray that I will be able to follow her example and let those around me know the same.