Sunday, November 22, 2009

Good Bye and God Bless

Bub, Little Bit, and Hubby visited Grandma and Grandpa in Terre Haute this weekend while I drove on to southern Indiana for a weekend with my girlfriends. Bub helped Grandpa clean his boat and learned to play "Go Fish." Little Bit made messes and skipped naps, but managed to be angelic at the nursing home with his daddy and Grandma when they went to visit his Great Grandma. As ever, I am thankful that our boys have two sets of loving and involved grandparents and delight in seeing how excited they get to visit with all of them.

I know my husband and I both have great memories of time spent with our grandparents and are thrilled to see the joys of the grandparent/grandchild relationship from a new perspective. Earlier this summer, I wrote a little post sharing some memories of time spent with my grandparents and celebrating all the ways that my boys are now making memories with their grandparents.

On Saturday, hubby had a chance to visit with his maternal Grandma. I know he is so glad to have had that chance. This afternoon, she passed away peacefully.

I have only ever heard my husband call her "Grandma," but he told me just now that when he was little, he and his sister always called her "Ma."

So, with hubby's permission, I want to share some of his memories of Ma or "Grandma Koi-skee"--to quote Bub's valiant attempt at pronouncing her tricky Polish last name . . .

As ever, so many happy memories are linked with food. Hubby remembers that his Grandma made the best chicken and noodles. He also loved her cheese cake, as did his Grandpa. She made excellent oyster dressing and hubby was chuckling telling me how it took his own mother years to figure out how to make it on her own since his Grandma had never really used a recipe for it, just knew what to do. The first Thanksgiving I spent with hubby's family, his parents were in charge and hosting the gathering in the community center of his grandparents' senior living apartment. I remember that my mother-in-law was doing the dressing, but that Grandma "Koi-skee" was adding her own touches (suspecting there wasn't enough fresh sage) when her daughter was attending to other tasks to the point where my mother-in-law had lost all track of what had gone in. The dressing turned out great and was the first oyster dressing I had ever eaten. My mother-in-law has also told me about what light, flaky, and delicious pie crust her mom could make. Food is love.

My hubby also remembers his Grandma trying to scrub him clean. Apparently, she was not always gentle with her wash cloth and always worked especially hard on a "dirty spot" on her grandson's face that is actually just a discoloration. Scrub as she might, she could never wipe it off!

Grandma "Koi-skee" could play piano by ear with absolutely no formal training. She had a sharp wit which hubby remembers as often being exercised at his Grandpa's expense. Although my husband does not know how often or for whom his Grandma voted, he does remember her giving his Grandpa hell for voting for Jimmy Carter. She had red hair and, at moments, the fiery streak said to come with it. She also had a green thumb--a huge vegetable garden and many plants and flowers.

I am thankful that I had a few years of knowing my husband's Grandma before a series of strokes made it difficult to connect with her. I am also thankful that Bub and Little Bit visited their Great Grandma on several occasions and were able to elicit some smiles. I can clearly picture her reaching out to tickle Little Bit's baby foot.

When I arrived in Terre Haute to pick up my family, Bub told me, "Grandma Koi-skee died." Earlier this evening, he explained to us that she was "in heaven with God and the cats and dogs." He also worked diligently on what he called a "complication" which was for Grandma Koi-skee and because "he loves God a lot." We have no idea what he meant by a "complication" and could not get to the bottom of it even with lots of questions, but he was concentrating really hard as he wrote with marker on a receipt that he taped up to the fridge with stickers. I'm sure that somewhere she fully understands and appreciates his earnest efforts.

I asked my husband what qualities of his Grandma's he hopes to have inherited, and he said her good sense of humor, strong work ethic, and the way she was loving and modest. Sounds like a wonderful legacy to me. Here's to ninety-four years well lived and well loved.


msh said...

beautiful post, so full of love. our love and prayers go out to you and troy and his whole family.

Nap Warden said...

So sorry for your loss.

Actchy said...

Such a beautiful tribute to a woman who clearly was the source of much warmth and smiles. My prayers go out for your hubby and the whole family.

Michelle said...

Megan, I share so many of those wonderful memories. She truly was one of my favorite people and everything you could ever ask for in a grandparent. I loved her dearly. I love the story of Bub's "complication". That brought a big smile to my face. Thank you for this post :-)

Amy said...

Sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to your husband, you and his family.

E... said...

What a lovely collection of memories. Fitting tribute to what sounds like a lovely and amazing woman. Sounds like Bub is figuring out just the right way to celebrate life in all its parts. My sympathy and thoughts are with you all, especially over the upcoming holiday.

CaraBee said...

What a beautiful post. (A-game, for sure.) I, too, have so many wonderful memories of my grandparents. It is a blessing that two of them are still with us to share in the joys of their great-grandchildren. It is very important to me that my daughter have as strong a relationship with her own grandparents as possible. Fortunately, we live just 10 minutes from Neil's parents, so she sees them at least once a week.

My heart goes out to you, Mr. T and the entire family.

Anonymous said...

That was awesome. I love that I can picture a little Troy and his Grandma. I love all of the memories you shared and it made me recall several from my own Nanna. Thanks for this. BDavin

Christina said...

A favorite memory is of baking chocolate chip cookies from scratch, always getting to help and sample the batter. M&Ms in the stockings. And always peppermint candies. Watching baseball games or sitting in the breezeway. Geraniums on the front porch. Playing with the big dice. So many memories.

She was a beautiful, warm, spirited woman.

Thank you for this post. I miss her, too.

cake said...

a very sweet tribute. and, it sounds like you had a nice time with some old friends. next time you head out to southern indiana, please give me a holler! even terre haute is pretty close to us. would love to meet you in person sometime.

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