You always said you were too ornery to die. We all thought so too. Unfortunately, no one is immortal. You lived a long, full life, but I wasn’t ready to let you go. Truth be told, I’d never be ready to let you go. You were the matriarch of our family. And now you’re gone, and we’re left picking up the pieces and trying to go on. In the last few weeks I kept meaning to call you. Time got away from me, and now I’ll never have the chance to pick up the phone and hear your voice. I’ll always regret that I didn’t make time to call you more often. I’ll always be saddened that I never got to say goodbye; that I never got to tell you one last time how much I loved you and how much you meant to me and to this entire family.
You and I had such a special relationship. I was your first grandchild. I always called you grandma, but when my cousin David came along, he named you Mema, and the name stuck for every grandchild and great-grandchild that followed. To me, however, you were always grandma. I thought that since I was the first grandchild, what I called you should be what everyone called you. I was outvoted, but I never called you anything but grandma. That was one of our special just-you-and-me things.
I have so many fond memories of my childhood with you. I looked forward to every summer when my parents would ship me off to you and grandpa for the entire summer. Back then, I always wondered what mom and dad did while I was away all summer, and how sad they must be to be all by themselves. Now that I have my own child, I get it. I’m sure my parents looked forward to every summer just as much as I did. I’m so grateful that my own son got to spend his summers with my mom and you. I know as he gets older, he will learn to treasure those years he had with you. It’s fitting that since I was your first grandchild, he was your first great-grandchild.
You taught me many things I still remember today. You were the one that taught me how to be a bargain shopper. I remember begging you to take me to the mall every summer and asking for everything under the sun. Of course, at that age, I had no idea what a budget was. I figured if you had checks, you could use them to buy stuff. I had no concept that those checks had to be backed by money in the bank. If I saw something I wanted, I didn’t care how much it cost. You showed me what sales were, and how to shop around to get the best price. You’d be proud to know that I rarely buy anything that’s not on sale. You also helped to show me the difference between want and need. I sometimes still have a difficult time with that concept, but most of the time I get it right.
I know you’re now free from pain and back with grandpa. We all take comfort in that fact. You have left quite a legacy. You leave behind four daughters, nine grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. Each and every one of us are a better person for having known you. I love you.