My Grandma

My grandma died 48 hours ago.

I am still processing the loss. I have never before had to say goodbye to someone so close to me. She was such a vital part of my childhood and always a familiar and comforting voice. To think that I won’t speak to her ever again…I can’t help but cry. I miss her already.

Gigi, Granmary, Vivian, Evie and Maureen, May 13, 2012

My grandma loved babies. She loved them so much that she had EIGHT of her own! And those eight babies gave her 19 grandbabies and 15 great-grandbabies! And, she joyfully snuggled and cuddled all of them, encouraging them to chew on her jewelry and touch her soft cheeks. She was a great proponent of LIFE, and I owe her much because of that.

Her life was hard. She had eight children ranging in age from 6-15 when her husband (my grandfather) died. I cannot imagine the grief she endured while managing a household of so many people.  Her feisty demeanor and no bullshit attitude must have served her well during the overwhelming months and years after his death.

Some of the little memories I want to keep:

*Her big blue house in Arlington Heights. It had a curly staircase and a back porch with geraniums and a bathroom with Ralph Lauren Lauren perfume. The house smelled like bacon on weekend mornings when my mom would bring my sisters and me over for a visit.

*Some Saturday mornings we’d meet her for breakfast at a diner called Wags. Sometimes we’d drive with her, and she’d let me sit on the arm rest in the middle of the bench seat. Not safe in retrospect, but fun for a 1980’s kid!

*My sisters and I took turns sleeping over at her house. I loved having special time with her! I remember one time I caught lightning bugs in her backyard and collected them in a mason jar. I wanted to bring them inside and she laughed and said “NO!

*During sleepovers at her house she would fall asleep with the TV on. Not used to the distraction, I would get up and turn it off. She would immediately wake from her deep sleep and ask me turn it back on!

*She loved opera. And all things Irish. And talking about her travels around the globe. And the Chicago Bears. And coffee with Equal. Oh, and giving and receiving back scratches.

*She hated tilapia. And chicken. And most vegetables.

*Her handwriting was so distinctive and unique. I always knew a letter was from her just from the address on the front of the envelope!

*The last words she said to me were, “Ok, sweetheart.” when I suggested she take a nap. I held her hand and kissed her forehead. I cried underneath the mask the nurses asked me to wear. That was six days ago.

Shortly after her passing, my Aunt Sheila shared an ethereal picture of my grandma and grandpa on their honeymoon in the Bahamas. The year was 1957 and the sun was shining warm on their faces. During the past two days, I’ve gone back to that picture many times. I want to know more: did they take this picture the moment their toes touched the sand? What hotel did they stay at? Did they talk about wanting eight kids? Did they forget a toothbrush? What cocktails did they drink during the trip?

I am sad that I will never know the answers to these silly questions.

But I am happy that I knew and continue to love such a special and unique person.

And I am happy she knew and loved my four kids!

Gigi and Ben, May 2, 2014

Gigi and Vivian, April 19, 2012

Gigi and Mack, November 25, 2010

Gigi and Evie, February 13, 2011

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4 Comments for this entry

  1. Molly says:

    This post is a beautiful tribute to Grandma Moore : )

  2. Sheila says:

    Oh Maureen, this is so touching! As a kid I too collected lightning bugs in mason jars from that very same house! You are right on that she loved children! Thank you for posting such a beautiful tribute!

  3. Feryall Rahman says:

    Maureen, such a beautiful tribute to Mom! You brought back so many memories with your description! Yes, she loved having her back scratched! She loved the fact that I had long nails and I would always offer to scratch her, her back, that is. And the TV! Oh, gosh, same thing happened to me! I too remember the house – your uncle Pat and I got married from there, as did your mom, your Aunt Jane and Aunt Sheila. That spiral staircase, your Uncle Danny always negotiated it in two bounds, I don’t know how! When I first met Mom and everyone for Christmas, I would always turn up the heat to 85 as soon as Mom was out of the house. Coming from the tropics in my first Chicago winter, I was cold! When Mom returned, she would exclaim, “It is roasting in here! Who turned up the heat?” I would remain guiltily quiet – as if she couldn’t guess who it was! Remember the wise owl Mom would pass around at rehearsal dinner? She once concocted a plan to play a prank on the new reception girl at her job, and I had a vital part to play in it! Mom WAS full of life, ideas, and great inner strength. I will so miss her. It will come at odd moments, when I am least expecting it, and there she will be, in my thoughts. Maureen, we will all miss her, and the loss will take a little time to sink in, but always smile when you think of her, for all thoughts of her are good thoughts. Rest in peace, Mom.

  4. Judy says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Such a beautifully written tribute.

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