Grandma in Disneyland's ToonTown. See the brace? That's her BOWLING HAND...
She was actually a very funny person - not always intentionally so - but she was the first person to have a good laugh at her own expense. My own personal favorite story was when she seriously expressed her desire to go to "Mother Fudrucker's" for lunch. I know I've told that story before, but it always makes me laugh. I'm not actually sure if she knew how funny that was - I know I wasn't going to tell her.
Grandma and Katie in Hawaii for Katie's graduation from BYU Hawaii. She was 92.
Wheelchair dancing with Scott at his wedding in 2010 - 99 years old
It's been a hard year of missing her and grieving for her - mostly for my aunt, who was her caregiver. She's still having a hard time finding an identity for herself, now that her caregiver roll has been stripped from her. But ever so slowly, I see signs of progress. Her famous sense of humor is making itself known more and more often. She seems to be taking more of an interest in life. Oh sure, there are bad days where she really takes a slide backwards, but I think it's getting better. And most days, I think she likes where she is, and the good people who surround her are becoming her friends. While caring for my grandmother, she completely neglected herself, and at almost 80 years old, that has taken a toll. She is still baffled by her loss of strength and by the things she can - for now - no longer do. But she's trying to do the work with her doctors and a physical therapist to regain some strength and more independence - probably mostly so I'll quit bossing her around. (One of my less attractive faults)
But back to Grandma. We all miss her greatly. She was the glue that united our family, and we're having to come up with that recipe now ourselves. But I think she'd be proud. I've been in contact with cousins more this past year than in my whole adult life. Before, we depended on her for updates on everyone's lives. Now we have to seek them out ourselves, and it's been fun to reestablish contact, through things like Facebook (a wonderful tool!) One night, just after my aunt took her latest and greatest spill while out walking, L and I pulled up to where she lives at the exact same time that my cousin Jeff did. It was such a treat to be able to share the visit with him! I miss those little boys I used to play with, and it's wonderful to again be able to share adventures with them now and then.
I felt a little guilty about forgetting Grandma's birthday until the 11th hour yesterday. But then I realized: she doesn't need us to throw her a party anymore. Where she is, she had the best possible celebration. By her own choice, she couldn't have had more favorite party guests than her husband, her parents, her two brothers, and her 7 sisters. Everyone together in one room and in the same dimension. Family gatherings when I was a child are some of my favorite memories. Everyone told funny stories on each other, and there was a lot of laughing until we cried. We BBQ'd and had a Hawaiian Punch/7Up mix ladeled up in a special huge roasting pan that I never saw used for anything but that punch. On hot days, we'd sit outside and eat and talk. We'd shoo away pesky flies, and a big fan would be blowing both inside and outside. Those were the days. So I can only imagine the celebration yesterday with everyone there. It must have rocked the house.
Happy Birthday Grandma... till we meet again.