A look back….

My grandparents. These two were my biggest supporters. My grandma’s birthday was yesterday, and my grandpa (or Pa as I called him) is in a little over a month. He is has been gone for a little 2 years now, and she has been gone for a little over one year. This was the last picture I had taken with both of them together. I learned so much from these two that it is hard to put into words. So here is a little background information.

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My Pa. He loved to garden, he was veteran. He used to work at a flower shop and would always bring me a pink rose home. It was always fresh, and still cool to touch from being in the freezer. He loved history and math. In fact, I think much of my love for big historical events comes from him. He taught me how to plant a garden. I remember countless summers spent planting flowers, and picking peppers. Oh how I wish I could have him here for one more day as we start our own family garden, I wish I would have paid just a little more attention when he was teaching me. Some of my favorite memories with him include just sitting on a swing in the backyard and looking at clouds and the funny shapes they were in. I don’t think he ever thought that they were what I thought, but he sure didn’t let me know that. He said he hated animals. However, my grandma had a cat till the day she died. In fact, we usually had several cats running around, and he even let us keep our dog when we moved in for a couple of years. He seemed distant but he really cared and listened. I remember the year before he died. He bought my grandma a new wedding ring. She had lost hers 20+ years ago. This was such a surprise, they never showed affection and he surprised her with a ring on their anniversary. He also kept a journal daily. It consisted of simple things the weather, who called, who came over. Mostly I think the was because he was starting to forget things, but its nice to look back and see what was happening. My favorite entry was from February 19, 2010. I got engaged that day he wrote “Mal and Matt came over, engaged. DON’T LIKE” I remember, I told him and he went into his room and didn’t come back out. He died when I was 4 months pregnant with his first great grandchild. He didn’t even get to know it was a girl. I know he would have been excited. He probably would have wrote “Its a girl. Excited. Mal still in school. Don’t like” That was his biggest fear, that I wouldn’t finish college because I got married and would have kids. I graduate in 5 weeks 🙂 I would have told him “I told you so”

My grandma. Loved life. She was a cook. We always had our favorite thing for dinner. I mean always there was at least 2 or 3 main courses to choose from because she cooked what everybody liked. We never went hungry. My grandma was my rock. I told her everything. There are days when I still want to pick up the phone and call her and just tell her about my day. I would sit for hours at her round kitchen table and drink a pepsi, while she drank water and just talk. My grandma loved to have fun. I had many sleepovers that involved water fights and brownie batter. She never cared that we kept her up till 1 in the morning and she had to be up at 2am to go to work. One night she actually started the water fight, we accidentally flooded the kitchen that night. She didn’t make me clean up. She also never argued when we wanted to make brownie batter just eat. The brownies never actually made it into the oven. Grandma always wanted to make sure every one else was taken care of and happy. She would pick me up from practice and take me to get what ever I wanted to eat. One time she even cleaned out my hamster cage for me, too bad she put the hamster in its ball outside and it died of heatstroke. I got a bird to replace the hamster. (Most annoying bird ever!) My grandma taught me what it means to really listen and to be a family. It didn’t matter to her that my Uncle’s would borrow money and you would never see it again despite the promises to pay it back. She gave to family and friends. If she had it to give she would. My grandma taught me how to love everyone and be compassionate. She taught me how to agree to disagree. We had several talks the older I got, and the more serious our talks became we would disagree a little more. That was okay. I wasn’t afraid to tell her what I thought and she certainly wasn’t afraid to tell me. She taught me how to put differences aside for the good of the family. My grandma taught me how to be strong. She lost her husband the same day she got diagnosed with cancer. She never stopped fighting. Even in her last few weeks she did what she could herself. She didn’t want to be a bother to anyone. She still wanted to help even if she shouldn’t have. She died when my daughter was 9 months old. She loved that little girl.

As I sit and remember these two and what they taught me. I cry tears of joy that I was blessed enough to be their granddaughter. I cry tears of sadness that my daughter will never get to meet them. I hope I can teach my daughter some of the important things they taught me. Like taking time to watch the clouds, and just listen.

Most of all I am just thankful for the memories and the time I got to spend and the lessons I learned along the way. I am thankful for the last few years with each of them and the stories of their lives they shared with me. They lived a very full and happy life.

My grandparents will always remain in my heart, and while I think of them often. The sadness is slowly being replaced by the happiness of all the memories. The BBQs, the cookouts, the time spent around the old kitchen table, the times spent fighting the mosquitos, chasing fireflies in the backyard, picking peppers, planting flowers, playing in the backyard, helping cook, learning to cook, swimming in the backyard at midnight, going fishing, water fights in the kitchen. These are the things I cherish and keep close to my heart. These are the things I will tell my kids.

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