Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lilies and Roses (RIP)



"Take care of yourself, Jennifer. I love you. Hopefully I will see you again someday after I go to my forever home."

Those were the last words my maternal grandmother said to me. She passed away Sunday evening. She was 88 years old.

I will forever be haunted by the image of her frail little body shifting uncomfortably and undecidedly on her makeshift bed in the living room of my uncle's house.

Eighty-eight years of fine lines and wrinkles caressed her body like a delicate, never-ending spiderweb. Her once shiny eyes were shadowed with anticipation for the end to come. Terrified of death and desperate to go, all at the same time. But the light didn't come quickly.

It broke my heart.

That is not how I want to remember her.

I want to remember her as the chubby bubbly grandma who laughed sweetly at my jokes and smiled serenely from her rocking chair.

I want to remember her sparkling eyes staring at me from a dusty black and white photograph discovered in the edges of an old photo album.

I came across the hidden treasure ten years ago when I was going through my mom's things in the attic.

I was instantly mesmerized by the beaming teenage girl sprawled in a field of light-colored flowers and weeds. It was 1937. Grandma was 16--the same age as me back then.

She was beautiful, vivacious, and bursting with youth. Her smile was familiar. It would be painted on the faces of her daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters within the next seven decades.

More than a dozen of her lovely smiles are now sprinkled across the United States. Not a bad contribution to society.

I hesitantly handed that photograph back to my mother. It was a reality check for me, to see the girl within the elderly woman. Since then, it was always hard for me to swallow that my little ol' grandma had once been a bright-eyed doll. It was even harder for me to put the two together while seeing her curled up so helplessly, gaunt and pale, this past weekend.

Grandma was lucky enough to pass away surrounded by her family and provided with the best comfort money can't buy: love.

Somewhere in that place called heaven I hope she is finally peaceful again.

And every time I hear her name, I will remember that teenage girl lounging in the grass, smiling playfully, life dancing in her eyes.

52 comments:

Charmalade said...

Jennifer, this must have been hard for you to share with us. Or easy, who knows. Either way, it was a very personal and moving look at your grandmother, and it was very heartbreakingly sincere.

My grandmother recently passed away, but I feel like I never really knew her. I don't mean to come off as indulging in some sort of schadenfreude, but I can't help but smile that you had good memories of her to treasure. This post was a touching monument to your love for each other.

Iva said...

Oh Jennifer. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how you feel and no words at all will be able to make you feel better right now. Only time eases it just a tiny bit.

My grandmother passed when I was 10. It has forever been with me and I can not come to grips with it at all. She was my rock, my world, my everything.

Just trust in how much the two of you loved one another. In a way she is always with you. I am so sorry. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Vintage Vixen said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Jennifer. What a beautiful tribute.
My Grandma died in her 96th year, just over a year ago. As she had Alzeimer's we'd said goodbye to the lady we knew and loved a long time ago.
Take care,
Vix
xxx

Hope Chella said...

I'm so sorry dear. My grandmother passed away shortly after I graduated from college (she was almost 90) and I don't care how old a person lived to be, it still SUCKS :( :( I'll keep you, your family and her in my prayers xoxo

http://hopechella.blogspot.com/

Jaime said...

My thoughts are with you and your family. What a lovely woman she seemed to be- may she rest in peace.

bryna said...

oh, saddest post ever. so sorry to hear your bad news.

Nikosmommy said...

Sorry for your loss sweetie...
It's wonderful that you were able to see her off. She's much more comfortable and happy where she is now (I'm sure of it!)
Keep your chin up...

Sherin said...

So sorry for you loss! My deepest condolences to you and your family.

Mina said...

I am sorry for the lost Jennifer. The way you remember her, as a bubbly teenager will help get you through. You and your family will be in my prayers.

Tamanna A. Shaikh said...

Jennifer, I'm sorry to hear your loss. Your words got tears to my eyes because now, I can even relate to your loss. My grandma passed away a couple months back and I was so very attached to her and she was the most precious person I've ever known. She is the only person I really ever respect. I miss her. She laid her life out for us. I empathize with you. RIP grandma.

Taj Acosta said...

A beautiful way to remember her essence. Infinite hugs xoxo

OceanDreams said...

So sorry for your loss, sending a hug your way! She sounds like a lovely person and I am glad that you found an amazing picture and memory to cling on to.

Damsels said...

this is really heart breaking .. i hope you are doing alright jen i dont know what i would do if my grandma passed away ..
with time you and her will continue to have the same connection because i really belive that people remain with you even if they are not around their presence can be felt .

im sorry for your loss

Leah said...

My condolences Jennifer... sorry to hear about your loss. Your grandma is in a better place now and she'll be watching over you.

Take care always! xoxo

Barry said...

Jennifer, your grandmother sounds like a wonderful person. This is such a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to her. When my time is up I'd love it if someone wrote something like this for me. (Of course no kids=no grandkids. And my cats can't spell much less write, so I think I'm kinda screwed).

Anyway. Hold onto those memories, they're gold. Not only were you lucky to have a grandmother like her, she was very fortunate to have such a beautiful soul as you in her life.

Amelia is... said...

I am so sorry that you have suffered another loss. I hope you are able to come to terms with losing someone who clearly means so much to you. My thoughts are with you.

www.ameliais.blogspot.com

Josie said...

This was an absolutely touching post. What a beautiful tribute -- she sounds like an amazing woman. I am so sorry for your loss and please remember that we are always here.
xxoo Josie
http://winksmilestyle.blogspot.com

Lesley Ann said...

<3

Style Artisan said...

You have had a year of unbelievable heartbreak. My heart goes out to you and I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our loved ones remain near. At first, the intense grief prevents us from feeling their presence or seeing the little signs they send our way. But as the grief ebbs, pay attention. In my family, butterflies appear at the most unexplainable moments...on a frosty December morning, inside a hospital corridor, the list goes on and on. Someday, something out of the ordinary will happen and you will know she is right there with you!

And by the way, you are an amazingly talented, gifted writer. These life experiences that you are going through will hone your ability as you grow in the wisdom and empathy that are the gifts that come as a result of difficulties.

lauren lanza osias said...

you are in my thoughts and prayers. lots of love to you and your family.

The Owl's Closet said...

i'm so sorry to hear about ur loss! this post is such a lovely tribute to ur grandmother:)

TheOwlsCloset.blogspot.com

Christen said...

I am so so sorry for your loss. I was devastated when I lost my grandmother. Nothing anyone says can make it better.

Sandy said...

Big, big hugs and lots of them for you my love.
You are such an amazing writer ... I can barely see the words through the tears ... still dealing with my mom I guess who was 80 when she died. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful influence in your life.
She will always be with you.
As Diane said, be watchful. My Dad leaves my sister dimes ... my girlfriend's mom leaves her quarters. I should pay more attention.
Much love and hugs hunny ... I'm glad you were with her.

Melanie's Randomness said...

Oh Jen, Im sorry to hear about your grandma passing. That is so touching that you remember the picture of her young, I'm sure she knows that you loved her and will always hold her in your heart. Love is a powerful thing, especially family love and that's amazing that she knew that. I'll say a prayer for her. aww I wish you all the hugs the cyber world can muster right now. *hugs dear*

.:JoaNNa:. said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, i know it's hard when people we love leave and never come back. But hey, while you were writing this post, she might have seen you from up there with a big smile, feeling grateful that her granddaughter is such a wonderful caring person! Take care! ;)

xo, Jo

Nubiasnonsense said...

Sorry Jennifer.. shes in a better place now, hopefully things will start to look up soon pretty. Keep your head up

DiamondsandTulle said...

{{{HUGS}}} Jennifer... I haven't much words to say. This is a truly touching and personal post you've shared with us. {{HUGS}} - I just have tears reading this post. My maternal grandma is soo precious to me - I've always been Grandma's girl. My heart goes out to you at this time.

xx Vivian

Heather Taylor said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Jennifer. I hope you're doing well.

Nicole said...

This is a really beautiful tribute for your grandma Jennifer. May her soul rest in peace. take care.

Paula said...

Just found your blog and didnt want to leave without saying how sorry I am. It must be hard on you. HUgs to you - unknown

Joellen said...

Losing someone is never easy, and it's great to keep those happy memories in mind :o) You have beautiful writing

joellenlove.blogspot.com

Ela said...

Jen, I'm so sorry. And I know it must've meant so much to her to be able to say goodbye to you, as it did for you. I truly do believe you will see her again one day.

My grandmother passed when I was 11 and I still miss her very much. I'm sorry S never got to meet her, but I know he will one day.

Sending hugs and prayers to you and your family. Lots of love to you.

Imogen said...

Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear about this and I am thinking about you a lot right now as you go through this time. What you wrote is very powerful and emotive and I can definately tell that she meant a lot to you. I hope you can take some comfort from the fact that she was surrounded by family when she died. I can really identify with what you are going through right now and how you must be feeling about this situation. I posted it briefly on my blog when my Nana died last year. I was very close to her and in many ways I identified with her more than anyone else in my family and like you, I remember so many good things about her rather than the way she deteriorated in the final months and days. It does get easier over time but I still think about her every day and things will never be the same. But there are so many things that you can think of to pay tribute to her life and remember good times. I hope you will be ok and take care of yourself. Don't worry when you reply to my email. I completely understand. I am quite busy myself so I know what its like. You can talk to me any time.

Couture Carrie said...

I am so sorry for your loss, darling...

This is a lovely tribute!

xoxox,
CC

Amy said...

Oh sweetie, I am so sorry for your lose. My heart goes out to you and your family and I want you to know my prayers are with you all.

May your grandmother rest in peace.

Big *Hugs*
Amy

gleenn said...

Condolence girl. I know it must be very sad, however, I think your grandma was really luckly to be able to live up to that age and to see her grand chldren grow. Seldom do people have that oppurtunity. Although, I don't know if I'd like to grow as old as she had. :)

daisychain said...

sending SO much love in your direction right now girl xxx

Cafe Fashionista said...

Oh Jennifer, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. It seems that this has been such a terrible year for you so far, but things will get better - I promise!

I never knew my grandmother; but it's tributes like this that make me wish that I would have had the chance to have spent time with her, for I am positive that she was an amazing woman.

Stay strong Jennifer; we're all here for you!! :)

Hannah ♥ said...

I'm so, so sorry about your loss. My Aunt died last night so I know exactly how you feel - I've been crying all day.

She sounded like a truly amazing woman though and would want you to be happy :)

LONDON--ROSE.BLOGSPOT.COM

xx

Tights Lover said...

I'm so so sorry to hear about your grandmother...such a tough loss.

I hope you are doing okay, Jennifer...

English Rose ♥ said...

My heart is breaking for you darling but i'm so glad you have happy memories to hold on to, no one can take those away from you, so cling on to them.

Beautiful tribute - I hope your grandmother is resting in peace and my thoughts are with you and your family

English Rose x
http://iamanenglishrose.blogspot.com

Pippa Artus said...

Must have been hard, hope you are okay. My grandad died two years ago at christmas, so obviously its not my favourite time of year. But i absolutely have taught myself to remember all the amazing things we did together :) It will get better, trust me :)

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Jennifer, That is a very powerful post!. And a great tribute to your grandmother.
I am so sorry for your loss:(
My thoughts are with you and your family.
I'm sending you a big, big hug!
(((H)))
Betty xx

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Oh Jennifer, I'm so sorry to hear this. A big hug for you dear.

I felt the same way about my grandfather - he was a former Air force colonel that raised us and taught us our values. But as he became older, he became more scared - scared to walk, scared to live, scared to die. It was heartbreaking watching it and it was ultimately sad that he died at my uncle's house alone. But we have to live with our good memories and hope that our loved ones are doing well elsewhere.

drollgirl said...

i am so very sorry for your pain. i lost three grandparents in one year, and it felt like my heart was just crushed. it was so hard knowing how happy and healthy they had been years before, and how sad, defeated, and pained they were towards the end.

hugs to you. it sounds like your grandma was one hell of a lady, and i know you must miss her so much.

Some Girl said...

I'm so sorry. This is a beautiful tribute and it's so heartbreaking to read. My thoughts are with you.

Fashion Court said...

jennifer, i am so sorry for your loss. i was very close with my grandfather and saw him go from the strong, healthy grandpa to frail, weak grandpa. it is NEVER easy. you need to always remember the GOOD memories in your heart and always remember that your grandma would want to see your beautiful smile too.

Barry said...

Jen, thanks for your last comment on my blog. Megan and Shannon's story has really moved me.

I hope you're doing well honey, I'm always thinking of you. Sometimes I don't know what I feel like more, a concerned friend or a worried father. :)

Kimberellie said...

This is beautiful. Now we will all remember her as that young girl. Thank you for sharing this.

Sophia said...

Darling, I am so sorry. When there is sorrow, sometimes no words cover all that needs to be said.

Much, much love during your time of difficulty,
Sophia

The Trendy Fashionista said...

I'm so sorry Jennifer!!!!

-The Trendy Fashionista
http://thetrendyfashionista.blogspot.com

Misfits Vintage said...

What a beautiful, loving tribute. Thank you.

Sarah xxx