Grandma passed away last night.
It could have been a lot worse. She could have lived in her state of severely diminished mental capacity for a lot longer. She could have developed bed sores or the inability to swallow. But her life still ended on a sad note - a once strong, forceful woman reduced to being unable to speak, let alone remember, due to Alzheimer's.
I was lucky enough to live a mile away from my grandparents in Redford, MI in the Detroit area during some of my formative years, from 1986-1991. That is when I got to know them best. Gramps died in 1991, but I continued to visit Grandma through the rest of her life.
My favorite childhood memories of her included making Christmas placemats out of old Christmas cards, her cooking of pear cake and red cabbage and gulumpki and pierogi, the way we used to beg her to swear at us in German when we knocked over the flowers, gardening with her, and going to church because it made her so happy. As an adult, I always was amazed by her kindness. What other grandparents could a college kid call up at two o'clock in the morning after a breakdown on the freeway, and when we get to her house, she insists that I and all my friends (who had gone to a concert at Pine Knob) eat ice cream?
Dad, when he called me this morning, told me I was definitely her favorite grandson, because I was the only one who visited her in her last years. I usually brought my dog, who she loved. She was my godmother and a kind, strong woman and I'll miss her. I'm thankful I was able to see her one last time - on Saturday - and that she smiled at me and seemed to be having a good day.
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