Grandma, You Are Missed This Christmas

Grandma Lorraine. Christmas 1982

Tuesday will mark our family’s fourth Christmas without our sweet grandma Lorraine. Four holiday seasons, how can that be? I remember when the first Christmas after her passing felt impossible. “It will get easier” seemed like the stupidest and most insensitive phrase. But life keeps moving and it has gotten easier, and that fills me with guilt and relief all at the same time.

Her memory lives on all year long, but no time more than Christmas. She absolutely loved Christmas, but not for the presents or parties. She loved Christmas for the music and the lights. The eggnog and the brandy (and wine and champagne). The fruitcake and the endless sweets. The time with family, especially when it meant I traveled home from college.

She opened each present on Christmas morning like it was the first present she had ever received. Carefully, oh so carefully, she would open the paper while making sure to salvage bows, ribbon and tissue paper for the next year. Whether the gift was a wooden spoon or a fancy outfit, she would touch it over and over, exclaiming how perfect it was and how we spent too much money on her. If you tried to take her picture on Christmas morning you were always met with a “NO” exclamation and a hand that immediately went up to cover her face. Oh, and we often made her wear a Santa hat. She was a trooper.

Christmas traditions have changed a lot since she left us. Mike and I got married so holidays have been split back and forth between Los Angeles and Denver. None of us can stand fruitcake or regular Coca Cola so those treats are no longer purchased. I didn’t even buy eggnog this year and the house is brandy-less.

But if she could visit the home that Mike and I have made, one year after we closed in December 2011, she would “ooohh” and “aaahhh” over our tree, telling me how beautiful each and every ornament looks. She would love our holiday fireplace mantel and be so happy that Kona has his own stocking. She would make me buy eggnog and spike it to our liking, especially while watching Christmas choir specials on PBS. You see, she thought watching mass and choirs on PSB Christmas Eve excused her from midnight services. She preferred cozy bathrobes to holiday sweaters.

I miss her daily, but I expect Christmastime will always be the hardest. So I write this post in order to share my memories of this incredible lady with you, and to pass along the love and joy she simply radiated at Christmas. It was such a blessing.

First 30 Days of 30: Day Twenty Seven

Today I want to share a few words about Something Sentimental.

I have quite a bit saved, from pictures to birthday and anniversary cards, that mean a great deal to me. Obviously my engagement and wedding rings are extremely sentimental and dear to my heart.

But there is one item, of absolutely no monetary value, that I truly cherish. It is a small book of quotes entitled The Beauty of Friendship, by Kahlil Gibran. After my grandma’s funeral in 2009 I spent a few hours at her apartment helping to get everything together and packed. However, I really wasn’t much of a help as I spent most of my time sitting and staring, sitting and crying. When I did pull it together I started on her dresser’s top drawer. Her top drawer always held her few pieces of jewelry and as a kid I used to love to play with her costume brooches. The majority of her jewelry was very simple – from Target, Service Merchandise or somewhere similar. She even kept (and wore regularly) a safety pin beaded bracelet I made for her. I loved that drawer.

I don’t remember exactly where now, but I saw a small, hardcover book in a corner. It was a book of friendship quotes. But the true find was all of the signatures and words of love on the front and back pages written to my grandma. You see, when my mom found out she was pregnant with me my grandma decided to quit her job at a hotel (overseeing maid service – she worked very hard from what I am told) to help watch me. This book was likely given to her at some sort of going away party.

“Lorraine, take care of yourself and please stay in touch. All the best wishes to you and your family.”

“So sorry you are leaving us. I will miss you very much. Good luck in your future.”

“Lorraine, be good and god bless. The kids must be happy but I am very sad. Please keep in touch. You are a beautiful lady.”

“It was always a joy to talk with you on the phone. We will miss you.”

“To a very patient and good worker! Thank for all of your help, Lorraine. You will be missed in many ways.”

Some of the wishes are also in Spanish. To my knowledge she didn’t speak or understand Spanish, but then again, I never thought to ask.

It’s very strange to read notes to someone who you only saw in one way – she was a grandmother. But when you read these notes I am reminded she was a boss, a coworker, a friend. Every time I read it I also get a strange feeling because these people were wishing her luck with me, her first grandchild (I don’t even think I was born yet when she had her last day). A very strange feeling.

The book means a great deal to me. I hope one day to show it to our children and talk about her to them, always keeping her unbelievable kind spirit alive in our family.

An Unexpected ‘Miss Her’ Moment

If you read my blog with any regularity you know that I miss my grandma Lorraine, a lot. March 20th will be three  years since she left us following a somewhat brief but brave battle with lung cancer.

It’s mind blowing to think that much time has passed. My days returned to normal long ago…I guess that’s why they say life goes on.

But every so often, something unexpectedly slaps you across the face and the hurt and sadness comes rushing back. On Tuesday night it was in the form of a sentimental (but otherwise harmless) Honda commercial. From then on, any home decor or Wordless Wednesday blog post I tried to formulate  just seemed fake.

The actress’ hair isn’t much different from how my grandma wore hers. Straight, short and very simple.I also think my grandma may have owned those exact pants.

Commercial link: http://youtu.be/tEnp8D321kw

That’s all I got…

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