My grandmother passed away this morning. I’m still processing the news, but I can tell you she was a treasure and a comfort to me, and I am thankful to have had her in my life. It is bittersweet to have lost her just before Thanksgiving, a time when we traditionally give thanks for all we have, but we all take our hits when they come.
I think the hardest thing for me to acknowledge is the fear that I let my busy life get in the way of doing a better job of staying in touch. Three kids, a husband, and a career kept me hopping, and there were times it was all I could do to move fast enough to keep those pieces in the air. Of course, there were always school pictures sent every year, and family portraits, and when we visited her home, she proudly had them all displayed.
That was my grandmother.
The dementia of her final years was a cruel turn of events, as it took her precious memories from her even as she struggled to remember the people important in her world. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to care for a mother who has no idea who you are. The emotional assault of dementia leaves nothing intact, ravaging everything in its path until there is simply nothing left.
But I choose to remember the woman who took an adopted girl and made her a real granddaughter. Who was the only grandmother I ever knew. Who first gave me the gentle gift of acceptance and unconditional love in a childhood otherwise filled with dark secrets. Who would tell you she didn’t do anything special. Who, to me, was the world.
I miss you more than I can say, Marian Mable Siefford. May you rest in peace.