Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Loss

My paternal grandmother died on Friday. It's the first loss I've experienced in my family as an adult. She was having a really hard time breathing because of COPD that had recently gotten much worse.

She raised four kids in Philadelphia and Brigantine. She did not know her own family until my father tracked them down in her late 70s. She had been put in a foster care home when her mother abandoned her and her father. Her father remarried and had other children and she got to meet her half-siblings. She made herself a family when she married my bricklayer grandfather. She lost a son when he was a teenager in a violent incident and lost my grandfather when he was 62 to heart disease.

She used to work in the cafeteria at the Children's Seashore House in Atlantic City, NJ. When my brother and I were kids and living on the island, we used to take a jitney or ride our bikes on the boardwalk to go visit her. She would always give us a snack and money. We always enjoyed being able to enjoy the Brigantine beach when we visited her there. She always had little dogs she enjoyed like crazy. She loved everyone in her family and never got rid of anything anyone gave her. Her house was always full of pictures. She loved recounting the numbers of grandchildren and great-grandchildren she had.

She made a life for herself, working her whole life, and always tried to do for her family as much as she could. The children and I visited her before Christmas. Although the real test will be the services we attend this week, the children and I have been OK. I think it hasn't hit me yet, but when I see all of the cousins, and my aunts and my dad, it is going to be hard.

3 comments:

Rational Jenn said...

Kim, I'm so sorry for your loss. Were your children close to her?

Kim said...

Thanks.

Yes and no. Since we live about 4 hours away in Connecticut, we did not get to visit as often as I would have liked. The new baby, who was not car-friendly, limited it even more. I think we visited NJ about 5 times in this whole year. During those visits, however, I always made sure to see her and bring the kids. They looked forward to visiting and never asked to leave! She was really good with them and interested in what they had to say. They loved her, but I don't think I would say they were close because of the distance.

Amy said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother, Kim. My Grandmere died in October and it was hard, especially when I saw the rest of the family at the funeral. Take care.