For a while in my middle age, I had a grandmother again after not having had one for about 30 years. This incredibly lucky and special status ending last Sunday on Mother’s Day.

Having a grandmother as a kid and as an adult is very different. As a kid, my grandmother took care of me physically and emotionally. My grandmother gave me lots of affection and love that I got nowhere else, and she was my favorite person in the world. As an adult, my new grandmother was the one who needed help and care. K and I spent almost every Sunday for the last five or six years giving her our time, attention and love. As time went on, she needed more and more help, and we did what we could. In return, she gave us something rare in our lives: someone who understood us and loved us unconditionally. (Sure, that wasn’t the story all the time such as during bouts of dementia-induced paranoia. But the real grandma always came back to us after a short time.)

K & I feel we have so little support in the world, and we have so few people in our corner. Our family — in the sense of people who understand, like, and respect us — is strong but very small, so each person dear to us is incredibly precious. Because of this, our loss is immense.

Since she wasn’t “really” my grandmother, few people understand or care to know how much she meant to me. We liked other from the first time we met, and no matter what state she was in, I was always happy to see her. She told me she felt I was sent to be her friend at the end of her life, and I felt that to be true. As different as these two grandmothers were, the love they gave me was very similar and very wonderful. Although both grandmothers were gone from my life too soon, I still feel lucky that I ever knew them.

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One Response to “losing grandmothers”

  1. I’m going to fly | the nerge on June 8th, 2014 11:10 am

    […] K’s grandmother flew her own plane for many years. She was a ballet instructor and would fly to remote places in the South to give lessons. She talked about it with me and how much she loved flying. She is certainly an inspiration for me. […]

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