Last Wednesday, while the kids and I were in the taxi heading back to our house in Japan, I received a call from Matt telling me that his grandma (Gram) just died. We all wanted to go back, but thanks to Obon (a Japanese holiday) there were only 3 seats left on any airline to get us back to the US on Saturday. So in the end Chris and Matt went back to say goodbye and I stayed back with the girls. As much as I wanted to be there, I know there was no way Sami would have been able to handle turning around and going right back to the States so it all worked out in the end.
My grandma on my mom's side died when I was 4 and my grandma on my dad's side lives on the other side of the country so we only saw her 1 time a year growing up. For the past 16 years I have had the privilege of having a "grandma on loan".
Matt's mom was diagnosed with MS when he was a small child. So Gram stepped in as a mother figure to Matt and his brother, Adam, and sister, Becky. Gram and Pops just lived up the street from them so it was easy for her to help out and for the kids to spend lots of time with their grandparents. Gram always enjoyed telling me stories of just how ornery Matt was as a child (and believe me there are lots of stories). I loved hearing her tell stories about my mother-in-law and about her and Pops cross country camping trips. I remember looking forward to Easter dinners because Gram always made special ham dumplings and pickled eggs. At Christmas I looked forward to all her yummy baking, and most importantly her homemade vanilla Italian Pizzelles. When Allison died, I remember Gram just hugging me as I cried. I can still picture each of my kids as babies nestled in her arms as she rocked them when we would visit her. It was easy to feel like part of the family with Gram.
Gram buried her daughter in 2000, her husband in 2001, her great granddaughter in 2002 and her daughter-in-law in 2003. Gram wrote a letter to each of her family to be read upon her death. In Matt's and my letter she told us that she had lived a wonderful and full life and that she was ready to go home and be with her family. It brings me peace to know she has been reunited with Pops and my mother-in-law. I know she missed them very much. And I can already see Allison being held tight in Gram's arms, just as she had done with all of my other children.
Gram was a special lady. I know she left imprints on many people's lives. I hope when I am old and gray people will think of me with as much fondness and love as people do Gram.
Our family with Gram this past Christmas.
Sami & Gram.
Gram and 6 of her great grandchildren.
My kids adored Gram.