My Grandmother Odette died today of complications of a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was eighty-eight years old... I think.
I didn't know my Grandmother well. I'm a 40-year old woman and I haven't spoken to her in 20 years. I'm not sure why. As my Daddy always says, "The phone works both ways." Well, maybe I should have picked up one of the two ends of the line.
Anyhoo, I would like to share some things that I will remember about her until my last day:
She was a dancer. Ballet. I always loved that she was a dancer and that I was too.
She spoke French. Turns out, I do too. I even have a degree in it.
She made me Sarah Lee cakes for my birthday. You're right, they weren't the gastronome's dream but they tasted damn good with melted birthday candle wax on them.
Her hair was perfectly kept in the 1960's. She had a weekly hair appointment and apparently slept sitting straight up, I say this because her hair, at least whenever I saw it, was always perfectly in place.
She always had strawberry candies in the bottom kitchen drawer. They were those strawberry-patterned, cellophane-wrapped hard candies with the soft center; but hers had clearly been there for a good long while because the hard candy shell had softened ever so. I loved that about her candy drawer.
She screamed a raspy "AACK"when something would spill or fall. I am happy to say that my Aunt Karen and I share that same call of surprise when something goes awry.
She always smelled pretty.
She called me darling.
She was a small woman. I suspect that I would have towered over her in my adult years and broken her in half had I chosen to sit on her for any reason. The first time I ever hear the phrase, "She wouldn't weigh a hundred pounds if she were wet!" was in reference to her.
In retrospect, there are a lot of, "Woulda', shoulda', coulda's" in the subtext of this note. All in all, though, I see a lot of myself in (what I knew of) my Grandma Odette. And I like that... very much.
I have and I will miss her. Rest in peace, Grandma. Visit me in my dreams, will you?