Thanks guys--for all of the support and all of the excitement and all of the SSSQQQQUUUUUEEEEEEE!!! It was all awesome-- and so welcome after what has really been a melancholy weekend. (And may I say Thank You! to Julie, who validated an entire brain-thread on 'Take THAT, all you people who said nasty things about me being an indie pub because no one else would take me!!!' Yeah... I was feeling that--but I'm glad someone else said that first:-)
As you probably suspected, my grandma passed away on Thursday night. Flossie Codromac trained to be a nurse during WWII, and Grandpa Harold worked in the Army. Flossie was gruff and practical and kind--she adored my kids, even the younger ones, and some of the pictures I value the most are of a very tiny Ladybug, rolling around her floor. I'm sure she and my stepmom had their issues--mothers and daughters do not always make it easy on each other, as my stepmom and I know well. But I remember that her house up in Paradise was a place to go for holidays, and it was always warm and always welcoming and there was always so much fattening shit to eat that I gained five pounds. She used to take my step-brother, step-sister and me for a week or so every summer-- a time honored family tradition which my step-mom honors to this day. The summer between my Freshmen and Sophomore year in high school, she and Grandpa Harold took us on a cross country odyssey--the whole fam-damily, that's seven of us in a six person RV. (Okay--my step-sister was very small at this point and had no problem sleeping on the floor.) It was awesome--and although I was introverted and prickly, Flossie was (always) gruff, pragmatic, and kind. Like my step-mom, I don't think she knew what to make of me, but she was always game to try.
She was the kind of person who could listen to a self-deprecating story and say, "Well, that'll learn ya'"--with just enough of a smile to let you know we've all been there. She was raised old school--one of the biggest adult reamings of my life I got from my mom was when my kids didn't call up and say thank you for their birthday cards. They made an effort to do that everytime since--and she always appreciated it. She loved games--card games, dice games, anything that could be played ad infinitum with a lot of chance to talk in the meantime. She taught me how to play cribbage--which is still a lot of fun-- and taught my daughter how to play cards. Not this last summer but the summer before, my mom and I spent a couple of days a month shuttling Chicken and her cousin, Nate, to Flossie's so she would have someone to play cards with. Neglect to do that this summer was one of the primary shafts of guilt that you saw going in my previous post--I should have. There is no excuse.
My mom told me that about a half an hour after they turned off life-support, Grandma said, "Well, when's this thing going to get started?" That story made me laugh and cry. It's the epitome of Flossie--not even death could escape her boundless pragmatism--nor her attitude that pretty much everything could be dealt with. I love that--believe it or not, it's one of the things I've gotten from my stepmom that I'm proudest of. (I just need to balance it with my generous dose of 'The Sky is Falling'--I'm not sure where I got that from. All three of my families are at a complete loss.)
So yes--the weekend was melancholy. I'm sick, the kids are sick, and we're all a little sad. But that didn't stop me from asking my mom if she wanted some good news when she called me to tell me about the funeral.
"Sure--good news is always welcome."
"They're going to publish my book."
"That IS good news!"
Distracting news, at the very least. I'll miss grandma--every holiday, every Christmas, every Easter, every Birthday, she was part of a Greek chorus of older people that marked even my adulthood. She was one of the last ones--and I'm glad that I remembered to kiss her every time I left and helped mom and dad with her on the rare occasions they asked me. I'm glad she got to know my kids, and I'm glad--so very glad--she was a part of my life. I don't know if her death is going to sink in until one of those occasions. Even after the funeral, it's not going to be until Thanksgiving or Christmas when I look to mom's kitchen table and she won't be there.
So thank you guys for the celebration--I sure am glad we had it! Now it's time to be a little bit sad--and I'm grateful for that too.