A New Year. A New Reality.

GrandmaAfter the Chrismukkah decorations have been packed away, the long-distance relatives have come and gone, and the New Year has begun, I like getting back to a routine and some normalcy. But this year, my normal routine has shifted dramatically.

Some of it’s wonderful, like the evolving routine I have established with “E”, my nearly 3 month old baby boy. And some of it’s bad. My 93 year old grandma passed away suddenly on December 5th. Due to her worsening eyesight over the years, we had a monthly routine where I would help her with errands, pay her bills, and read letters out loud from her many friends and family. For nearly 4 years, I looked forward to those visits where it was just the two of us and the Monkey, who would run around her house and inspect relics such her 8-track tape player and bubble-gum pink rotary phone. My grandma and I would chat about her childhood growing up on a farm, the 5th of 13 children. She would talk about how, after she trained to become a nurse, she left her homestead in North Dakota and took a train to California for work. She joined the military to nurse injured soldiers back to health during World War II and became a 2nd Lieutenant. She worked until she was 70 years old, all the while supporting her three kids after my grandfather had a stroke. Her story was fascinating to me and she was a huge influence and inspiration for my own path in life.  Despite her old age, her death was a shock. Only 2 weeks earlier I was with her in her small yellow kitchen as she helped my Aunt and Mom prepare vegetable soup and cornbread.

I started 2011 without my paternal grandparents since both of them died in 2010.  And now I start this year without any of my grandparents.  I know I’m very lucky to have had such positive and incredible grandparents in my life for 34-35 years. My new reality begins without them, but they will always be seared in my heart and remain in my wistful memories.