When I was just a little girl, growing up in the Northeast, I got to travel way out west. Unlike my peers with their grandparents in neighboring towns, I had to make pretty major trips to see mine. And to see my dad’s parents? That meant heading way out to Arizona.
I, of course, wasn’t the least bit familiar with desert flora. While the orange and tangelo trees just outside the door were a source of great joy, the results of an encounter with a cactus were a flood of tears. And also a bunch of time getting tweezed. Still, I was in awe of the silhouetted cacti against the setting sun. It was so very different from what I knew and I found that fascinating.
Grandma Jane had a trampoline. Not one of those yard-sized monstrosities that have become common-place these days, but a small one designed for aerobic exercise– this was the 80s, after all. I was fascinated with that thing, too, and begged to hop on it first thing in the morning, my hair still damp and smelling of Pert shampoo.
Perhaps because we lived so far from one another, it was always a big deal to see my grandparents. While my own children have been fortunate to grow up less than ten miles from one grandmother or the other, such was never the case for me.
Until recently. When Grandma Jane moved to Connecticut.
In the last couple of years, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see my grandma more than I ever could as a child. We’ve spent Mothers’ Days together. Sung Christmas carols. Laughed over my children’s– her great grandchildren’s– antics.
My youngest, being the littlest one of the whole crew, always entertained Grandma Jane. And I’ll never forget the card my grandma sent after G. was born that read, simply, “THANK YOU!” She was honored that we had given our little girl “Jane” as a middle name.
Two days ago, my Grandma Jane took her last breaths here on earth and was called home to Jesus. I imagine her dancing with my grandpa. Embracing her daughter. Maybe cuddling the great grandbaby I’d hoped to add to the bunch, but lost too soon.
My memories of Grandma Jane are precious ones. I’ll always remember her as the woman who taught me to crochet. To overlook the sticky fingerprints of little children. To drink my coffee black and scalding hot, right from the pot. To enjoy a good song and to bet well on a card game.
Goodbye, Grandma Jane. Our loss is heaven’s gain. I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve taught me. And I promise to teach our own little G. Jane.