Friday, February 01, 2008

My Grandmother

My grandmother died today.

I am, of course, sad she is gone. However, my focus is on how happy I am that she was in my life. She wasn't an ordinary grandmother.

She was extraordinary in many, many ways.

Lets look at a few:

The first way my Grandmother was extraordinary was her fondness of Mountain Dew. When I was in high school, my grandmother asked for a sip of the soda I was drinking. Since I started my Caffeine addiction early, the soda was Mountain Dew. After taking a sip, Grandma said, "MMm..." Somewhat surprised, my mother asked if Grandma would like one, which she accepted.

That was the first sip of what turned out to be a long run.

It progressed to the point that if you'd go over to her apartment, and the soda machine on the first floor was out of Mountain Dew, you'd know. Grandma would be grumpy, upset and needing her Dew! How many people have Grandmas hooked on Mountain Dew?

Upon reflection, it was probably a really good thing that I didn't play any of my music for her... The neighbors at her retirement home probably wouldn't have liked that much.


At our wedding, Grandma was a star. She danced the night away -- even keeping up with a professional dancer! At one point, she went up to the DJ and said, "I don't mean to be rude, but could you play something with a little more pep?"


In her later years, she had a problem keeping weight on. One Christmas morning a few years ago, my mother told me, "Give Grandma that gift there." I went, picked it up, and heard a clank of bottles.

"What is this, a 12 pack of beer?" I asked sarcastically.

"SSSSShhhh!!" my mother exclaimed.

My shock at my mother's statement was quickly overshadowed by the next, larger shock.

This wasn't just beer, it was Spaten Optimator.

Floored, I immediately wanted to make some T-shirts saying:
MY GRANDMA DRINKS STRONGER BEER THAN YOU

Apparently my Grandmother's doctor had suggested she drink this before going to bed to help her sleep, and to put some weight on. Grandma added in a whisper, "and it keeps you regular, too."

Grandma was Grandma until the very end, including some of the words of wisdom I've shared so far. I plan to answer "How do you feel?" as Grandma did ("With your fingers.")

In the end I'm reminded of words from a friend that passed a way a few years ago. He was writing about a piece of music (the Andante from the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Johannes
Brahms). He wrote:
"What a composer! What sublime and gorgeous music! But it also reminded me of a parallel with Life. In both, you follow along the progress, enjoying every moment, and when the end comes, it's so gracious and inevitable and fulfilling that one doesn't fret that it's over but rather rejoice that it happened." John Peter Gesinski, August 28, 2004

Grandmother, thank you for being in my life.

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