On the day my grandmother passed I got a phone call from my sister.
It was the middle of the day and I was at work.
I looked down at my cell phone, saw who it was and then sent my sister right to voicemail.
I didn't think twice about it for the rest of the day.
About an hour before it was quitting time, I listened to the voicemail my sister left.
She told me that the nursing home called to let us know that my grandmother was passing and she probably didn't have long. If someone wanted to come out and sit with her they should hurry.
My sister was calling me because I was the closest but I sent her to voicemail and went about my day.
It makes my heart sad to know that I could have gone to her.
I could have held her hand...if I had only picked up the phone.
I wish I could have been by her side.
My grandmother was a funny, sassy, strong woman.
She was a woman who was more fond of children than adults.
Who couldn't cook to save her life!
My mother tells the funniest stories of her childhood and my grandmother's non-culinary skills.
My grandmother would try to cook something in the pressure cooker only inevitably to have the fire department come and run the damn thing outside to the driveway!
There would be this pressure cooker in the middle of the driveway and a bunch of fireman standing far back.
And this happened more than once! Not a good cook.
When I was little I remember my grandmother scraping the burnt off the toast before giving it to us! She burnt everything! And the funny thing is...to this day I LOVE the burnt edges of things!
My aunt can go on and on with hysterical grandma stories. Like the time when my aunt and mom pulled up on motorcycles onto front lawn of my grandma's house.
My grandma walks out and without even flinching, says:
"Oh look my daughters are home!"
Even when my grandmother came down with Alzheimer's, she had moments of shear lucidity and she was funny.
There was the time when my aunt (who was married twice...and well...let's face it...multiple marriages seem to "run" in my family...well except for me, my one cousin and grandma!), well my aunt told my grandma that she was going out to church and my grandmother's response:
"Oh lord, you're not getting married again are you?"
And when she passed I felt a void. A void not only for myself because I missed my grandma but a void for my children who will never get to know her.
To honor my grandmother, at her funeral my sister order a beautiful collection of flowers including a grave blanket and a wreath.
The flowers were Irises. My grandmother's favorite flower and the wreath had a banner on it that said:
"Hope is always with us!"
But none of us ever got to see those beautiful flowers and that heartfelt wreath. The funeral home made a mistake and sent the flowers to another funeral.
And the mistake was crazy because my grandmother's name...well my grandmother's name is...
Now some could argue that the phrase: "Hope is always with us!" is generic but for us (me and my family) it's not.
Hope means more to us.
Hope is a strong, crazy, sassy lady who used to tell all of these imaginative stories that earned her the nickname: "Tall Tale Hope".
And she's family.
She's my grandma.
Grandma Hope was always a very charitable woman. She supported the church and volunteered in her community. We felt that her flowers going to someone else was her last act of charity. And I am sure they were beautiful.
If my child is a little girl I will name her Hope.
After my grandma.
And with all my doubts and fears. Through all my anger and hurt I will try to tap into all the strength that I inherited from my amazing grandmother and remember that:
"Hope is always with us!"