I woke up disoriented this morning, staring out my window and certain that I was not in my room, as the phone shrilly rang. By the time I realized where I was it was too late to pick up, but I ran to the phone anyway. It was 6:30am and I knew who it was and why they were calling.
My grandma passed away this morning, in the nursing home where she had slowly been deteriorating over the last few weeks. Before that she was in the hospital, and before that she was suffering at home. My mom damn near exhausted herself by waking up at three of four every morning to go to her, then coming home for a nap before returning for the night. My aunt and my uncle were also up for about four weeks, and they all took shifts to take care of her. I saw her a few times when she was declining, and she was still sweet and funny. But I'd rather remember how she was when she was healthy.
I truly always thought that my grandma was beautiful. She was slender (from eating broccoli and yogurt and granola!) and she loved salmon more than anything, golfed with my grandpa and with her women's team, took line dancing classes even when she was going through chemotherapy because of her ovarian cancer.
Grandma gave me piano lessons since I was about six or seven. She made them lots of fun! She had taught and played piano since she was a child, and she could play so, so beautifully. Every week, if I practiced fifteen minutes, or thirty minutes (depended on my age) I could pick a prize out of a basket that she filled with cool things. She put on recitals for me and other students to perform in, she taught and encouraged and scolded me through five levels of Certificate of Merit and then to level seven unofficially. She always cared about what was going on in our lives.
She was a very formal, dignified person, always dressing appropriately, with her hair in the same pulled back style with a pretty clasp, very polite and friendly when meeting new people. But at the same time she was not formal at all, because she was warm, and humorous, and loving, and when she was with family it seemed like we all rotated around her like the planets to the sun.
I also really didn't think that Grandma was going to die. Somehow she seemed so constant that I thought she would outlive us all, or at least live long enough to see what we did with our lives, and maybe meet some great-grandchildren. I don't really think it has sunk in yet that she is gone.
I'm going to miss you a lot, Grandma. Give Grandpa a kiss from me.