My grandmother died last Saturday. She was 90.

This was all the things you assume it will be – sad, hard, peaceful, strange. Many people have lost grandparents, but until last week I was still a virgin.
I was a 27 year old with all four grandparents. I was, and still am, very lucky.

Yesterday was my grandmother’s memorial service, and it was really beautiful. It was so “her” that I kept expecting her to pop up in her white turtle neck, khaki pant ensemble that she wore year round. That feeling is confusing. I’m sure it is also because her death is so new, but warm sunshine, sturdy New Hampsire wood and her various sculptures really bring out her presence.
I guess it is a testament to us humans that in death we still feel and are very much alive. This must also be why people see Elvis all over the place.

My grandmother was really magnificent – stunning but also quirky, extremely liberal and sharp with impeccable manners. She was polite not because she had to be, but because that was how she liked to treat people. She was an amzing artist, she read voraciously, she loved Greek mythology and disliked George Bush greatly. Still, she never hated anyone. She was really open to all people. My grandmother was not like all the nanas my friends had with puffy hairdos, tiny dogs and bright track suits. She wore interesting silver jewelry and sat at her pottery wheel listening to NPR, and invited all her grandkids to join her. She is also pretty impossible to describe in a few words, though my cousin Wes did so masterfully yesterday in his reading at her memorial service.
In short, to know my grandmother was to want her to be around forever.

My grandmother was also pretty hilarious, though half the time I think it was unintentional. My whole life she had always referred to “taking a poop” as “making a bee-am”. Bee-am was the word she used, pronounced “bee-ehm”. It was only a few years ago that I realized that she had abbreviated “bowel movement” as “B.M.” and incorporated it into our large family’s vernacular. I completely thought bee-am was a synonym for poop, a classy noun only the most well-mannered, intelligent and discreet people used.

Which, I guess, it was.


4 Responses to “E.C.B.”

  1. 1 e February 4, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    I simply can not believe the uncanny similarities I find reading your blog from day to day. I feel entertained and well, damn near blessed! Like you, I watched my Momma battle pancreatic cancer and unfortunately my mother fought ferociously and lost. I also am a writer( an editorial in my hometown newspaper) and until July 17th.2006, was also a virgin. I am thirty five and until that fateful day, I had FOUR grandparents. Many say good genes had everything to do with it, but I think those four people are(were) the cream of the crop. I don’t think they make them like that anymore. In a strange turn of events, one year ago on February first, I moved my three kids and hubby back to Illinoise from NYC. I didn’t want to come home and swore I NEVER would. My sister had a home on the market that wouldn’t sell and my husband had been offered a job in the SAME area and well, it just seemed practical. By July, my classy, native, Cherokee, college educated, Armani wearing( not for show-but because she liked the longeviety amd make) well read (I swear she knew who PARIS HILTON was) and Bush ranting Grandmother died in her sleep. She was eighty-seven. Her funeral was pre planned, pre paid for and EXACTLY the way she wanted it. Purple. Or as she would say”Lavender is my signature color” Unaware of her pre planning,I, my Dad,sisters and Grandpa solemnly set out to the funeral home to make arrangements and to our pleasant surprise were greeted with a funeral director who offered us : a purple casket with oops I mean, lavender lining, lavender lighting and a special note wanting any donations to be made to my mothers cause of death. When we went to to wake, my sisters and I couldn’t help but sing “Purple Rain” Grandmother lie there in a purple dress, in a purple casket with purple, I mean lavender, lights. A true woman sticking to her own until the end. Just the way she wanted it. Seven months, I buried my maternal Grandmother at the same funeral home and the scenery was MUCH different. I had the fortunate experience of sitting by her cancer ridden bed side in a hospice. She was not as materially successful, but an immigrant from Cuba. A true hero in my mind. Never owned a diamond, never had a”real education” , but God I am thankful I moved back home. In her last days, she spoke of her childhood and wanting to go home to see her Mama and my mother. EVERYTHING happens for a reason. If I had not came home, I never would of had these experiences. I applaud you for KNOWING how grateful you are. You are and continue to inspire. I am looking forward to seeing you make it BIG!

  2. 2 katespencer February 4, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks E. As always, you are too nice to me.

  3. 3 e February 6, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Kate-I HAVE got to start reading these blogs BEFORE I start drinking. Sorry for the overly nice comment. I just read what I wrote. I meant it, but G.D I am a LUSH!

  4. 4 katespencer February 6, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    No don’t, I like them!

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