a century

my grammy would have turned 100 today. it hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday morning, and i realized all over again that she was gone.

i remember calling her a little over ten years ago, and reminding her that she had a "big birthday coming up." because ninety is pretty big. and without pausing she responded, "i have a big birthday coming up in ten years."

here i sit though, ten years later, with a palpable void of no one to call in this quiet morning - 100 years in the making. {granted, she never would have been awake at 6 a.m. so i couldn't have called her now anyway.}

but i can hear the joy in her voice as she talks to my children, and tells them she loves them. the children she never got to meet.
even so, i can hear them sing happy birthday to her, and picture her face with the gleam of contented love and pride in her eyes as she listens.

i really thought she'd make it to 100. i think we all did up until the end.

and if i had to guess i think grammy would have said that the secret to a long and healthy life is to love God and love others, to daily drink a lot of coffee plus a glass or two of wine, and to do it yourself if you can.

if you told her not to, she wanted to do it all the more.

one day when i was in college she told me she liked my watch. "my mother didn't approve of watches," she said. "she didn't think i should have a watch, or a black dress. so, do you know what i did? the day i got my first paycheck i walked out of there, and i went and bought a black dress and a wristwatch."

in the laughter following that moment my tendencies made a lot more sense.

and she loved high heels. she couldn't wear them anymore for most of the time i was alive, but she loved them. one christmas eve when i was in college she came to church with us. as we carefully picked our way back to the car through a snowy parking lot she looked at my 4 inch heels and said, "you be careful not to break your ankle in those things, but oh i envy you."

there is a pair of black and white shoes that i have that i will keep always. i wore them to her funeral because i knew she would have loved them. i wore them when our son was baptized because they reminded me of her, and i wanted her to be there in some small way.

despite her contentedness with her life it always felt a little bit like the world wasn't quite big enough to hold her. she was as feisty as they come - not walking with the walker they gave her if she was just going one room over, insisting on moving the step stool and putting her coffee in the microwave herself despite the repeated instruction not to do so. feeding the dog reese's cups multiple times a day simply because annie wanted one, and who cares that she wasn't supposed to?

she was so proud of her family. she loved her kids. she loved her grandkids. she was over the moon about her great-grandkids. i wish she could have known mine.

i wish i could have a cup of coffee with her today, and kiss her wrinkled cheek, and tell her how grateful i am that she made it to her "big" birthday.
but i am still grateful.

i am grateful for the many things she taught me. i am grateful for the 92 years of life she had. i am grateful for the feistiness and the love of shoes she passed on to me. i am grateful for how she loved me always. i am grateful that she was always on my side even when she wasn't.

i am grateful for all that i have, and all that i am because of her.
happy birthday grammy.
i love you.



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