Family is a constant. It has been with me since I took my first breath and it will be with me until I take my last. Family will always be the most important thing in my life. These are the people who I may not have seeked out on my own but were given to me by God, because he knows infinitely more than I ever will. Our differences may be great but our similarities through blood, marriage and life help us form bonds that are unlike any other. When one member of the family is lost, the entire family feels the gaping hole they leave behind. My grandmother was called to heaven this week and the hole she left behind is overwhelming.
Nanny, as I have always called her, was a woman who dedicated her life to family. She raised her five children (including two sets of twins in two years!), two of her grandchildren, and played a very significant role in raising a couple of her great grandsons as well. She took care of others until she could no longer take care of herself. She was always so strong and independent. Never one afraid to let her opinion known. In those ways, I am alot like her. And I am grateful. I am also grateful for her love. She may not have been the grandma who spoiled me with gifts or even called me on my birthday but that never really bothered me. She showed her love in other ways. She gave herself to those who needed her the most at the time.
When I was seven she took me with her to Hawaii so I could see my other grandparents. She could have brought anyone with her on her first big vacation after my Grandpa died but she chose me because she knew it was important for me to meet my father's parents. Sure, I had "met" them when I was a baby but I had no memories of that time. I do have memories of that trip to Hawaii where I was able to spend time with both of my grandmothers together. It was the last time I would ever see my other grandmother and the only visual memory I have of her. What a gift.
I will miss knowing she will be at every Christmas and Thanksgiving, happy to see us all and ready to leave her lipstick on our cheeks. I will miss her spunk and her laugh. I will miss her smell. Funny how grandma's always seem to have a comforting smell. I know she is at peace now. I know she is with Grandpa and her brother and sisters. And I know she will welcome us all when our time comes. But until then, we will miss her. And we will continue to feel the hole she left in all of our hearts.