My Grandmother passed away on May 12th, a day before Mother's Day. She was 86 years old. She had not been doing that well and to be honest it was not a huge surprise. It appeared to most of us that she was waiting for all her children, (all 6 of them) to get together from the different parts of the US they lived in. Once they did they all said their goodbyes and she passed away the next day. A lovely funeral occured on May 16th and she was finally laid to rest to reunite with my grandfather, whom I never I met since he died when my dad, who is the oldest child turned 13. My Uncle Frank who is the youngest was only 1 year old when his father passed away. My grandmother never remarried though she had an interesting relationship with Father Smith a pastor friend of the family. Who passed away from Prostate cancer 3 years ago.
I've never been one to have real close relationships with my grandparents. We went to visit them often but most times I was busy with my cousins or sister or being by myself. So I never really got to know them I guess. I mean I knew alot about them but I never really sat down and just spent a lot of time with them. Do I regret it, maybe a little bit, but to me it did not seem that big of a deal. I loved my grandparents, but I never went out of my way to spend time with them, and I guess that could make me an ungrateful grandchild. But i did visit them when my parents went to see them, I just very rarely went off and spent time with them myself.
With my Grandmother Lange who just passed it was a little easy to not visit since she had 6 children who in turn 4 all had families. I have 10 cousins that range in age from 36 (I think) to about 20ish I would say. Whenever we all got together at my Grandma's house or any of my Uncle and Aunts houses the cousins all went off on their own and played various things. One of the big things we played when I was younger was Indiana Jones. Quite the experience, and can be it's own blog posting someday.
Fourth of July was our big holiday. We always got together on 4th of July (or as close as we could get it) and had a really nice picnic which included our annual games of Badminton, something that had been going on in the family since my dad was a young man. We also had some horseshoes and Bocce Ball at times as well. But badminton was our game, and I like to feel having that experience encouraged me to try out for my High School Badminton team which was a Varsity sport and in which I played for 4 years with one of the best teams in Baltimore County. Thanksgiving seemed to be big as well, but I always ended up going to my other grandparents house and then to my wife's family's house. Once in awhile we were there for Thanksgiving, and I heard after the dinner there was rough and tumble Poker going on, which I never played. We always also found ourselves at her house usually on Christmas Day as well. So each time I would end up playing with my cousins while my aunts and uncles all sat around chatting.
One year I went to the OBX with my Grandmother. The majority of her family was down there and the very first time I ever went to OBX was with them. A good amount of my cousins and my aunts and uncles were there and it was a blast. Before we left for OBX I spent the night at my grandmother's house and drove down with her and Father Smith. I think that was the only time that I remember being with her for any length of time and it wasnt even just the 2 of us since Father Smith was driving. At the beach I spent all my time with my cousins again.
The only other time I really remember visiting her when it was just her was when Dawn and I took Noelle over for a visit. At this time Noelle was a baby and my grandmother loved it. I always wanted to take her and Noah to see her but things just never came together for whatever reason, possibly from the fact that I never really spent much time with my grandmother.
Finally the reason for the title of the blog. Dawn and I got married in October 2003, that Christmas we went to my Uncle Phillip's and I remember distinctly after hugging my grandmother she looked at me and said Boy Dylan you sure have gotten fat. Now my grandmother was always one to never hold her tongue on anything and my shocked look on my face must've startled her because she then added it was a compliment, I meant it looks like married life has been good for you. Sure you were Grandma, but I still loved you. It is a memory I will have of you and I can laugh about it now because I do not think my grandmother was trying to be insulting, I think she really believed she was complimenting me. And yes I was a little chunky since my job at the time was to sit at a desk for 8 hrs a day on the phone with customers and I exercised very little but drank lots of soda and ate lots of snacks.
Are there regrets? Sure. I always wanted to learn more about the Scottish Castle that she inherited then gave away, I discovered she worked for the FBI when I was at her funeral, never knew that. I wouldve liked to hear more stories about my grandfather, my dad has some but he was 13 when grandad died so I would've liked to hear more from Grandma. I'd like to know how she was able to raise 6 kids practically on her own. I'd like to know how she was able to afford 6 kids when I don't even remember her working, and even if she was working who looked after the kids? I know my dad was a surrogate father for them, but still it would've been fascinating. I would like her to know that I did love her though I was not the greatest grandson in the world, but she always got me something for Christmas and my birthday and even got stuff for Dawn and the kids as well. One thing I do not regret is that she lived long enough to see my children, and meet my wife and spend some time with her. I was not as lucky with my other grandparents since they passed away before I was married or had kids. So at least she was able to have 5 great grand kids (my sister's, mine, and my cousin Jenny are the only one with kids) she could spend time with. I know you are in a better place grandma. I love you.