My grandma was 76 years, 7 months, and 10 days old. She was married for 47 years to my granddaddy. She had four kids, each of whom is married, six grandkids, and three great-grandkids. She had two constant canine companions. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, on a Thursday. She died in Trinity, TX, on a Monday.
These are facts about my grandma. But they don't tell you who she was. They don't tell you what she was like. They don't tell you about her sense of humour. They don't mention her love of art. There's nothing about her perfect manicures. Or her ability to soothe any ache by scratching your head softly with her fingernails. I have a picture of her at 13. I have a picture of her at 76 years, 6 months and some days. She is wearing red lipstick in both of them. In some pictures I have of her, she looks just like my mom. Some of them, she looks just like Nanny; Some of them, Aunt Debbie. Depends on the angle and the age. I still cannot believe that she's just pictures now.
I keep hearing from friends that I'll miss her less as time goes by. I haven't found that to be true at all. It's been a month today. A whole month of not having a grandma, and it still hurts so much when I think about it that I get a lump in the middle of my throat that feels so big I think I might choke on it, and tears spill down my cheeks.
My memories of her are all happy. But the pain of her absence is huge.
One of my favorite Sylvia stories:
The weekend before I got married, Sandra Sue and I loaded up her Integra with the dresses for the wedding, and drove to Humble to spend the weekend with my family. We were a few days away from what would become a hotly contested election. My grandparents were in the living room, with my Uncle Frank. My mom, Nanny, Sandra Sue and I were all in the kitchen. We hadn't been there an hour. As Sandra and I sat at the kitchen table, my mom piped up.
"How are you going to vote on Tuesday?"
"Mom, I don't really think we should talk about it."
"Well, you're going to vote for Governor Bush, aren't you?"
"Just promise me you won't vote for that idiot, Gore."
"Mom, new rule: We will not talk about politics, religion or sex."
And from the living room, came Sylvia's voice: "We don't have to talk about politics, and we don't have to talk about religion, but I like talking about sex!"
She was so totally awesome.