We lost my grandmother on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. While it was expected to happen at some point, it still comes as a shock when it does. The fact that she nearly made it to 91 years old with advanced Parkinson’s is a testament to just how tough and how full of life she was, even in her near-locked-in state. She and my grandfather were always on the go before Parkinson’s set it, taking cruises and traveling everywhere, always coming back with stories, many involving some sort of funny mishap. She was always the hostess with the mostest, hosting lots of family parties. That seemed to be when she was most in her element. She loved having family and friends around more than anything, which made the pandemic especially hard on her. And I’ll always remember how, especially at family dinners, she liked to tell jokes that let’s just politely say were “inappropriate.” 😂
Even though we’re all hurting right now, I feel thankful and privileged that she got to be a big part of my life for 44 years, and that she even got to see a couple of her great-grandchildren, my own daughter included. I’ve done my best to explain something that’s not fully explainable to my daughter, and she gets it about as much as you would expect a three-year-old would. But she definitely knows something is wrong and people are sad, but I want her to see that and I’m explaining to her that it’s okay and normal to be sad.
Most of her grandchildren referred to her as Booboo, a distortion of Bubbe, which is what her mother was known as before her. Initially, my grandmother didn’t want to take on the title, saying that Booboo was her mother, not her. But eventually, she warmed up to and embraced it. The problem is that I was old enough to remember her mother (my great-grandmother), so in my mind, she was always Grandma. She always had that warm, caring, and welcoming personality and would always greet you with a big smile that easily reached her eyes. Even near the end when she had no muscle control and was practically locked in, you could still see a smile in her eyes when she saw you. I’m going to miss that immensely.
Rest easy and without pain now, Grandma. I have little doubt that you already knew just how much you were loved, but I’ll say it anyway. We love you.