Peacefully, I’m told, late last night. I’m glad she wasn’t in pain when it happened, and that she’s not suffering anymore. The funeral is on Sunday afternoon, and the rabbi who’s officiating sent me (and the other grandchildren) a list of questions – typical questions, I guess, about who she was and how she lived her life.
But I don’t think I can answer them – at least not in the traditional way. I’ve written in this blog about my memories of her, and those are what I’m thinking about now. What kind of grandmother was she? Well, she was our Nanny. She was Miss Neat. She was the garbage can at dinner time. She spoiled us rotten when we came to visit and fattened us up by feeding us the junk that our parents would never let us eat. She was happy if we were happy. She was adored by her family and her friends.
She hated change. She had the same books sitting on the shelves in her den in Florida for the 30 years she lived there. She had the same lucite candy box, lucite phone holder in the kitchen and lucite tissue box in the bathroom for the 30 years she lived there (and that’s just a sampling). The same patio furniture and fake plants. The same towels and sheets and blankets (with a few exceptions). The same broken table lamp in the den that was a hazard to all who had the misfortune of butting up against it. The paint on the walls in the apartment was original to the place (other than a couple of small paint jobs in the kitchen and bathrooms). The carpet was the same carpet that came with the apartment. She finally caved in and got a microwave a couple of years ago – well into the 21st century – and a cell phone.
She hated change, but she loved her family more than anything, and always took particular pride in her grandchildren and more recently, great grandchildren. She loved to see us, loved to hear from us and regaled in the exploits of the youngest generation – Chloe, Sophie, Hannah and Naomi. The one thing that did change regularly in her apartment was the quantity of photos. The same old photos hung on the walls, but every spare space on her dresser, on the dining room buffet, on the lucite wall unit in the den was covered in photos – many of them recent additions as her grandchildren started to have children of their own.
I like to think that those photos gave her strength as she was starting to weaken. That even when she was alone, she wasn’t lonely – that she knew in her heart how much we all loved her and kept her in our thoughts, even though we were so very far away.