Just over a month ago, I lost my Gramma to cancer.
Let’s go back to the very beginning. My Gramma was the oldest of several children, at least 10, but the actual count I’m unsure. She was born in 1919, was a child through my favorite era, the 1920s. She went through The Depression, lived through World War II. She was the toughest, sweet person I ever knew.
She married her first husband and had five children with him. She then became a widow.
She met my Grampa by watching his 5 children while he went to work. They soon became an item and wed. They each adopted the other’s 5 children.
THEN, if 10 kids weren’t enough, they went ahead and had 5 more! My Mom is the oldest of the last 5. My mom was born when Gramma was 40, and she had 4 after that. Back in 1960 (If you’re reading this, Mom, sorry for the age give-away!) that was probably super risky.
My Gramma and Grampa lived happily together with their wild and crazy children (so I’ve heard). On top of the 10 kids, she took care of her mom, my Great-Gramma, who was had severe dimentia. She eventually moved into a nursing home.
My family moved in next door in about 1988(?). I have a lot of great memories about growing up next to her and Grampa. I got to spend a lot of time with my cousins, which was nice since our neighborhood was full of “old people” at the time. My sisters and I had somebody to spend time with.
Gramma became a widow again in 1990. My Grampa had pre-existing heart conditions and passed away from a heart attack on Columbus Day, 1990.
She had fallen a couple of years back and had to go to the hospital. While they were doing all of their x-rays and such, they came across a tumor in her uterine area (where exactly, I don’t recall). That weekend, when we went to visit her in the hospital, I announced we were having a baby. We all decided quality of life was best, so we opted out of the chemo beast.
I named my daughter after my Great-Gramma (her mom) and her middle name is my Gramma’s name. Once my little sweetie was born, I started calling my Gramma “Gramma Gi-Gi”. They had a close bond that I’m not even sure I understand. I believe she’s watching over us all, but especially my babycakes.
Once the cancer monster struck, it struck hard and fast. The whole process was less than two weeks. She was 93 years old. Though we all know she lived a long, full life, it didn’t make it any easier. I still miss her to this day…and probably forever.
This photo was taken on my parents’ wedding day. That is my dad, of course, and Gramma Gi-Gi. I love the expression on their faces!