A Closed Door: Goodbye, Grammy

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

When my Uncle Tommy died, I wrote several long entries on his death and what it meant to me.  And when my Gramma, Tommy’s mother, died, I wrote a long essay on all the ways she affected my life.  And when my Grampop passed on, he too, got a long discussion of how his wondrous life shaped me.
Yet my Grammy died in August, and not one word on the blog.
This one’s too painful.
It’s not that my Grammy ranks higher in the pantheon of my beloved dead, but rather that she is the last.  My grandparents are all gone.  A whole era of my childhood, wiped by mortality.  And to a very real extent, Grammy was the axis on which the Steinmetz family turned; my Grammy was the social one, the one who remembered every name of every nurse in the assisted living facility even when senility took bites out of her memory, the one who loved parties and get-togethers and trips.
She stayed that way right up until the end.  The last time I saw her, she asked about my trip to Hawaii – re-asked the questions several times, as the memory of a ninety-something year old woman has a few gaps, but by God she remembered to tell me to exercise, Billy, exercise, we were all so worried about you with your heart.
And in the end, I can’t.  Encapsulating who my Grammy was to you is closing the door on myself, acknowledging that the last of that generation of relatives no longer walks the earth, and I would have to say goodbye not just to Grammy, but her husband Grampop, and Gramma, and Tommy.  I will say that the Steinmetz family now lacks a spoke to revolve around; with Grammy, we were one great family, all dancing to please her and be pleased in turn, as Grammy was the sort of person who expected you to be wonderful and so alchemically transformed you in her presence so that you were wonderful.  Without her, we are still a family of sorts – but separate ones spinning on our own axes, intersecting on Facebook.  Will there be any great family parties to return to?  Will we have this cohesiveness?
I doubt it.  She was special that way.
And I keep looking in the mail for that $10 check from Grammy, that tiny Christmas present that maybe bought a meal at Boston Market but told me she was thinking of me.  She is still thinking about me, I’m sure, but from a place she can’t send me postcards and newspaper clippings and tiny angels in the mail.
I don’t owe you anything when it comes to this blog.  But the blog is, in some sense, a chronicle of the great events in my life, and Grammy passing is a great event.  Just not one that struck like thunder, but a slow ebb that’s hard to chronicle.
No matter.  They gave her daisies.
Good night, Grammy.

4 Comments

  1. Catherine Asaro
    Dec 24, 2013

    That was beautifully put. It resonates. These last couple of years I lost my grandmother, who at nearly 106 seemed like she would live forever, the last of her generation in our family. I lost my mother, my uncle, and several long time friends, including Ann Crispin. My father is hanging by a thread as age sets in. The passing of the generations is a poignant reminder of our own mortality.
    Thank you for that moving blog entry.

    • TheFerrett
      Dec 26, 2013

      I’m sorry to hear of all your loss, and I say a prayer for all of your mourned.

  2. Carmel J.
    Dec 24, 2013

    My last grandparent was a grandmother who was a social spoke for the family wheel as well. Though my aunts did make sure we had a conference and agree to a reunion every other year before we left from the funeral. The second one happened this year.
    I hear you, I understand where you’re coming from. And I’m glad she got her daisies.

  3. Celendra
    Dec 30, 2013

    That was so beautiful (ack – crying at work!) – and I’m so, so glad she got the daisies.

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