This past Tuesday, the 19th of June, I was informed that my great-grandmother had passed away. She was 87 years old. To me, she had always seemed invincible and immortal, like she hadn't aged a day since I was born.
Around the time of my very first Christmas, my great-grandmother was fighting breast cancer. She told my mother that she wanted to give up and just die in her sleep. My mother sat me down on her hospital bed and asked if she wanted to see me grow up, see me go to prom, see me graduate from high school, and see me get married. When Gramy said yes, my mom told her that she had to keep fighting, then. And she did. She beat cancer and went on to see me go to prom and graduate from high school and, though she didn't get to see them, she heard about my college graduation and my engagement.
The news of her passing has hit me hard. It seems like just a few days ago we were sitting at her tiny dining room table, playing Go Fish, and betting quarters on who would win. In reality, it has been a few years since I saw her last. She began to lose her memories and, when I went to visit her, she became frustrated because she wanted to remember me but couldn't. In respect for her feelings and her blood pressure, I stopped visiting. At times, I feel guilty about this, but deep down I know it was the right decision to make.
I still cry every day for her. I miss her so much and, though I know she is not in pain anymore and she's happy now, I wish she was still here. I long for the Gramy that enjoyed getting embarrassing gifts for Christmas and took her black mutt, Midnight, for a walk several times a day. I want to sit with her and listen to her old country records on the turntable. I want to hear her laugh again.
Though I am still struggling with her death, I am very glad that I had the opportunity to know her. Many people don't ever get to meet their great-grandmothers, let alone have fond memories of 20+ years together to look back on. She taught me to be kind to others and to never give up, no matter what odds are working against you. She kept our family close and, thanks to that, my cousin and I were able to lean on each other at the funeral. She was an amazing woman, and I will always be grateful that I had the privilege of calling her my Gramy.