Let me tell you a little bit about my grandma.
Virginia Ann was born on March 2, 1928. Well, she was supposed to be Virginia Ann, but the priest wouldn't baptize her with the name Virginia since it wasn't a saint's name. So she was baptized Ann Virginia.
When Virginia - "Ginny" to her friends and "Ginger" to her siblings - was a teenager, she had a friend with a "gentleman friend" in the Navy's 4th Beach Battallion during WWII. Virginia was looking for someone to correspond with, so her friend's man set her up with one of his buddies, Erwin. Long story short, Virginia and Erwin married after the war and had three beautiful sons, each five years apart. M in 1947, T in 1952 and A in 1957. They lived happily in the suburbs, buying their dream house in Stony Brook, NY in the late 60s. Virginia was a homemaker and Erwin a... well, he was a bunch of different things, including a New York City fire chief. But most of all, he loved Virginia. Erwin passed in 1975, 10 days before his 53rd birthday, leaving Virginia a young widow at 47.
Virginia never found anyone special to spend her time with, much less remarry - when a cousin and I asked her about this years ago, she said that she didn't even want to bother trying, because nobody could replace her husband.
I grew up with a strong matriarch - she was always in charge. We lived with her when I was born and my parents didn't know what they were doing, and my aunt and uncle moved in for a month or so when my younger cousin was born and they didn't know what they were doing. She enjoyed doting on her "chickens," but was always quick to let them know when they were full of "friggin' crap." :lol
I moved in with Grandma when I went to college - it made sense. I divided my time between her house and my parents' house for all 4 years. She bought me my first car. I was her "nurse" when she had quintuple bypass my first year of college - I cleaned her wounds, dressed her back up, brought her to all of her doctor appointments. I tried my best to take the best care of her I could.
After college, I moved away to be with my now-husband. I know Grandma missed me, and I missed her. I'll never forget the Easter a year and a half after I moved away, when I decided to surprise my family for the holiday - only my parents and my sister knew I was coming. When I walked into my Grandma's house, she started jumping up and down - well, as much as she could, anyway, gave me a huge hug and said "oh, my Beenie's come home!" My father told me later that it had been the biggest show of emotion he'd seen from her in over 30 years.
I hadn't mentioned it here, but Grandma's been in the hospital since Memorial Day - she'd gone in for some back pain and wound up having a toe amputated. She didn't like to cause a fuss, so she'd never told anyone that it had swollen and turned purple (she was diabetic and had neuropathy). She hadn't been doing so well last week, with fluid in her lungs and no sensation in her legs, but they said it was from having been in bed for 2 months. Mom called with an update a few days ago, saying Grandma was doing much better, regaining feeling in her legs and breathing much better. Tey were making plans to move her to rehab later this week. But for some reason, I couldn't shake the voice in the back of my head that kept telling me she wouldn't be going back home.
Unfortunately, I was right.
Grandma passed at around 7:10 PM Eastern. She had a massive heart attack. The doctors tried to revive her 4 times, but at no time did she come back for more than 20 minutes. The family decided - and as much as it hurts to say this, I agree with them - that it was time to let her go.
After 30 years, my grandmother has rejoined her beloved husband, and together they will watch down on the rest of us and tell us when we're full of "friggin crap."
I love you, Grandma. SO much. And I'll miss you - more than you will ever know. And I will always - ALWAYS be your Kathleenie Beenie.
Has it really been two years, Grandma? It seems so long ago, but it seems like yesterday. I still miss you like crazy.