Rest in Peace, Grandma Muriel

Mom (Sharon) & Grandma (Muriel), December 2011

I spent a couple hours at the hospital yesterday with my Grandma Muriel. She was on morphine to ease her pain and was slated to go into hospice care today. My grandma was always a pillar of strength, the kind of person who never needed anything from anyone. She was a single mother of four kids who worked 12+ hour days at factory to support her family in a time when women didn’t do that kind of thing.  But, then again, she never was the type to care what people thought of her or live her life the way others thought she should.  Needless to say, it was difficult to see her in a state of helplessness; and, at times, hard to believe I would be losing her.  It always feels like there will be more time.  Just as I got home from the hospital, I got the call that my grandma had passed away.

My grandma is the second close family member I’ve lost within the past four months.  My aunt Kim passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 49 in December.  Somehow, I expected my grandma’s death to be a little easier since she was 91.  But, it wasn’t.  Death is sad, no matter how old the person is and the circumstances.  I’m not great in these types of situations because I don’t like people to see me cry and I never know what to say because I know there are no words that can take away the pain.  The one thing that I’ve noticed while mourning my aunt and grandma is the good memories really do help ease the sadness.  I have a lot of great memories of my grandma, a few of which I will share.

SHE WAS CONSIDERATE.

Before I met Matt, I never dated anyone seriously enough for my family to meet. Of course, this caused my family to worry that I would never meet anyone – especially when I got my cat.  (side note: Sunny is one awesome cat)

When my brothers started having kids, my grandma crocheted a baby blanket for their oldest kids. Well, being the planner that my grandma is, she made me a gender-neutral baby blanket should I ever (finally) meet someone and settle down.

I even still use the blanket my grandma made for me when I was a little girl:

I am happy to have the blanket from my grandma for my future child.  But, what really touched me about this gesture was her intentions.  She didn’t make me this blanket because she thought I needed to meet someone and have babies to be happy.  She was happy for me no matter where my life took me.  She made the blanket because, if I did meet someone, she wanted to make sure my child had a blanket from her just like their cousins.  I am very sad that she won’t be at my wedding, but also very happy that she got to know Matt and see us get engaged.

SHE DIDN’T TAKE HERSELF TOO SERIOUSLY.

My grandma had a great sense of humor.  When I visited her last week, she said, “Some people will do anything to get out of work!” (and, because my mom has the same sense of humor, she said “and some people will do anything to get visitors!”).  She liked to make people laugh, even when she was in a lot of pain.  She always told Matt if she was 30 years younger, she’d give me a run for my money.  I always found that funny because she’d still be 61!

SHE WAS ALWAYS THERE WHEN WE NEEDED HER.

The memories that stick out the most about my grandma are the days when she would take care of me because I was home sick from school.  Sometimes, she would take me “bumming around” (her term for shopping) to fabric stores or to the coffee counter in Northtown Mall.  When we were goofing around one day and an iron fell on my younger brother’s head, my grandma was the one who took us to the doctor for him to get stitches.  If my parents had to leave work every time one of us four kids were sick or got hurt, they would have been gone most of the time.  So, my grandma was always there to help.

It has been an emotional week, but I’m happy that my grandma is no longer suffering.  She left me with a lot of good memories to remember her by.

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4 responses to “Rest in Peace, Grandma Muriel

  1. Its hard to fathom the loss of a grandparent, especially one so important. You think you can prepare yourself for the end because you know its near, but still find yourself devestated. I know exactly how you feel Anna. I lost my grandmother in Nov. She aways joked for years, “I hope I get to see you again” or “I hope I make it to see your wedding, or first child” “I hope to see you at the next holiday”… My grandma said this for years and we would always just chuckle at her knowing she would be just fine. She passed and I was of course sad, but happy that I had so much time with her, that I got to know who she was. I miss her and always will. I missed her birthday card this year, last year she told me it was the last year she was sending money, but I didnt mind. Grandma’s are special. I dont know how you feel about tattoos, but I got a memorial tattoo for my grandma and I LOVE to tell her story everytime someone asks me about the meaning of my tattoo. It’s like she’s with me everytime and I’m so proud to share her and her story. I feel her warmth and smile.

    • Colleen and I got tattoos together because I always said I’d only get one if it meant something. That is a good suggestion.

      Your grandma sounds like she was a great lady! It’s nice to have a reminder of the important people who are no longer with us. I have a mosaic from my aunt who passed away in December. We went to a class together last year and she made it there. Every time I look at it, I think of the fun we had at that class together.

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  3. What a lovely woman your Grandma was Anna! I remember your Mom and Dad taking me to your Grandma’s apartment. I must have been 4 or 5 because it was before your parents were married.
    I have always loved her sense of humor and her kindness, I can see those qualities in you. I am so very sorry Anna for your families loss. I know how important she was to your family, and what a hole she will leave.
    I loved how at family functions she would just sit and observe people. I often wondered what she was thinking..(much like we would catch you as a little girl, trying to see what grownups were talking about!)
    Muriel was always so thoughtful. That she made a blanket for you, regardless of kids does not surprise me at all. Anna, I know that she was so proud of all of you, your choices, and accomplishments.

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