Thursday, January 31, 2013

Grandma Virginia

Saturday, January 26th, my Grandma Virginia passed away after a beautiful and long life.  She was a big influence on my life in so many ways that I may not have begun to truly recognize until the end came closer.  I'd always called her "Gramma".  I always had the silly notion that she'd always be around.  She was like my second mother so it seemed natural to believe that.  As her health began to deteriorate, I began to do things that I can honestly say I'm proud that I did.  The book I'm writing...she's in it.  I'd asked her permission when I first started the book, far before she was ill and her only request was that I didn't make her "a lady of the night".  Gross!  Of course not!  But her role in the story is important and I'm so happy she's in it.  I didn't just use her's her.
When she began to grow more and more tired, I took her to her room and brought my computer with me.  I have only shared my story with one person.  I sat with her and essentially read my Gramma asleep as I read her the prologue to my book.  She gasped at moments and let out an, "Oh!" here and there.  I took that as a sign that it was either good...or horrific.  I don't know.  However, knowing Gramma, she liked it.  I also proceeded to tell her the premise of the story and the direction it was going to take.  It was a proud moment for me to be able to share something with her that was quite personal and dear to my heart.

My Grandmother, Virginia Kochrian, was an amazing woman.  Her heart was big, her hugs were strong, and her kisses and "I love yous" were given all the time.  The memories that I have of her are truly endless.  The legacy that she leaves behind is a great one and I can truly say I feel blessed to have had the honor of being one of her many grandchildren.  Gramma was a tough woman with an unbreakable spirit.  When my grandfather passed away, she knew she had her family to pull her through.  And though there was a loss that left a large hole in her heart, the love of everyone in her family pulled her through the tough times.

Grandma Virginia was one of the last "true" grandmothers.  She did things that grandmothers simply don't do anymore.

The wonderful things I remember of my Gramma...

Knitting blankets for every grandchild
Teaching me to knit when I was very young (but it only ever turned out to be a short scarf or small oven mitt)
Laying on Gramma's lap for back rubs while she talked to mom and dad.  If she stopped, I'd jerk my back to remind her I was still there.  This was a constant thing for us.
Candy for when we walked through the door for all of us grandchildren.  Mostly Andes chocolate mints.
Dinner almost every Sunday with Gramma and Grampa.
Gotta finish everything on our plate...if we did, "Good job!" even in my 30s. But always encouraged to eat more, of course.
The beautiful garden she and Grampa tended.
The pink bathroom with green wall paper that always smelt like roses.
The guest room that I'd always stay in if I was sick as a child or needing to get away as an adult...the furniture belonging to my Great Grandma Ruth.
The wood stove...Don't touch it!  It's hot!  (Why was it where people always had to walk by?)
Lover of gambling, slots were her favorite.
Strawberry blonde hair
Our drive to California and talking the entire drive.  We didn't turn the radio on even once.  I learned so much about family history.  We had a plantation?!!  Wow!
Gramma and WebTV and the discovery of Col. Fribley from the Civil War on the internet.
Her chair and Grampa's chair.
Me choking on an ice cube while she and mom ran around frantically trying to get me warm water. I got out myself.
Her humming along to her music.
Her locket with Grampa's ashes placed inside.
Gramma sneaking into the delivery room thinking I wouldn't notice...I did.  No way I was kicking her out when she wanted to see the birth of one of her great grandchildren.
Farrah and Gramma sharing moments for years with her locket. Farrah was so fascinated by it.
Remembering Grampa's reaction to the locket when Dianne said how much it was (for their anniversary)...I thought he was going to have a heart attack right then.
After Grampa passed away, Gramma and I still had the tradition of calling each other...she'd wish me a happy birthday and I'd wish her a happy anniversary.  It was a special date we shared.  We never stopped doing it.  (Not sure who I'm calling this year...)
Rhubarb sauce
My favorite cookies she'd bake (one had potato chips in it!)
Spending hours going through photo albums with her.  She'd tell stories about her friends that I didn't know, but I always listened because she loved her friends so much and always wanted to share stories.
The light-up globe and always looking it over.
The wooden blocks.
The arc.
Falling from the yellow stool to hit my cheek on the corner of one of the wooden chairs, leaving a permanent scar on my right cheek bone.  I love it!  I curled up on the couch, on the pea green pillow, wrapped up in one of her knit blankets until mom could rush me out to the dr.
Holidays!  Christmas and Easter were always so special.
Cherry pies, Boisenberry pies, Peach pies
Making jams
Flodda mornings
She looooved sweet pickles.  I wasn't a fan, but I indulged with her.
The awesome sandwiches she'd make because I stopped by and she figured I must be hungry.  Last favorite sandwich was a pork sandwich made from Chinese pork slices, spicy mustard, and lettuce.  So good!
Newspaper clippings.
Romance novels.
Polished rocks.
Mirrors in her bedroom that made it look like I was part of the Rockets...I'd dance and kick my legs on her bed and my several reflections followed suit.  We were a fantastic group of dancers!
Sitting out on the back patio under her giant fuscias.
Strawberry milk.
Vacations to Hawaii.
The trip to Maui with just me and Breann.

My list can go on forever, and who knows, I might come in from time to time and add to it.

But my very favorite memory of her and Grampa was when Breann and I went to Maui with them, and Grampa chased Gramma around the condo pinching her butt.  I was 12 and remember thinking...I want that in my life.  This is the type of love I want to have.  Forever love.  They were two people that I looked at and could feel their love for one another no matter what.

Gramma, I will miss you dearly.  However, knowing that you are joining Grampa warms my heart and comforts me.  I have more memories than many people have of their grandmothers, and I truly feel blessed for that.  You were an awesome woman, strong willed, and compassionate.  Your qualities and strengths are ones I hold onto and hope I inherited.

I love you forever.

I will miss you, Gramma.

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