RIP Orange

This will be a total stream of consciousness, but I just have to tell about grandma. My grandma died early Wednesday morning November 13, 2013. I miss her terribly. She had been sick recently, but only the way that elderly people are sick. I never really thought of her as elderly because she never acted that way. She was just this lady who went about doing her thing. It was always strange to me that she would get a senior citizen discount because she just wasn’t old to me. She didn’t even look like she was anywhere close to being someone 65 years of age or older.

Orange (yes, that is my grandmother’s name) is the reason I love baseball. She was a Cubs fan and just like all the fans before her, never saw them win it all in her lifetime. However, while I saw plenty of Cubs games while growing up, I didn’t become a fan of her favorite team. In fact when I say I saw plenty of games, I mean most of the baseball watching I did as a kid was at her house. And the only things on her television were the Cubs games or her “stories” (i.e., soap operas) and if we were in the house instead of outside, that was the choice of stuff to watch. I’m not so much into daytime soap operas much, but I’m sure if I ever turned one on, it would be the same people I saw as a kid.

Grandma never thought of herself as old. She always was a very independent person and if she took help, it was very reluctantly. The past few years she has been living in a nursing home because she required a bit more care than could be provided living with my uncle. Of course, it was one where people living in them had a bit more independence than you typically think of in a nursing home.

It has to be that way. She was basically kicking and screaming about going, but knew it was for the best. Grandma was about being independent, even until the end. Normally there is someone at the home that would help people get to bed. However, Tuesday night, she was anxious to get to bed while my uncle was visiting with her. She was making her way to bed before she got assistance. She was just tired and wanted to do things herself.

My Grandma eventually needed a cane to help walk. Actually, she was supposed to use one of those walkers that people use both hands to use. However, Orange was a bit vain. And I say that with much love and appreciation. Instead, she got the cane because in her words, she was not old and didn’t need that walker. Those walkers were for the frail and elderly and she was not one of those people.

As far as being vain, Grandma always made sure she was dressed in her Sunday best whenever she went somewhere. This included wearing heels. One time, my mom was yelling at Grandma that she really should wear flats because they were more comfortable. However, Grandma just got a mischievous smile on her face and told my mom that she was wearing her heels because she wanted to. The smile reminded me of a little kid who is just waiting to plot something or show an adult that the kid has the upper hand in whatever the battle of the moment is. Of course, she never did have problems wearing her heels. After all, she did do a sensible two-inch height in them.

With Turkey Day coming up, I am reminded of Thanksgiving dinners with my family. Orange made the best food and she had the best pie crusts for a long time. I think though after a while, she got tired of making them when I was in college. One year, the crusts were bad and needless to say, we were all disappointed because her sweet potato pie was just the best. The following year, my sister and I decided to just buy pie crusts for her to use in her pies.  We tried to politely say the crusts weren’t just as good and that by using the ones we bought, she could save time. Her response? Great!

I did a lot of walking when I was a kid. All over my hometown in various directions from Grandma’s house. She didn’t drive, so if we didn’t take the bus to go places, we walked. Then, I was annoyed by it, but now I appreciate that I did a lot of walking. Who knew that moving so much would lead me to moving a ton now.

I have lots of other stories about things I did with my Grandma and memories of her. But I should stop before I break down crying uncontrollably because I miss her so much. I love you and miss you Grandma and thank you for all you taught me.  I’m glad you went peacefully in your sleep and that you had a great run at life in your 89  years.

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