Meredith told me recently that she misses me blogging about what’s going on in my life. Right now seems like a really good time to rectify that.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks in many ways, but above all, there’s this: My grandma Marie passed away just after her 77th birthday. I’ll be heading home to Silver City this weekend to attend funeral services. Since she was diagnosed with leukemia in December, my thoughts have often turned to her. Her passing has only amplified that effect.
I’ve remarked before that the only hard part of leaving Silver City to move to Washington/Baltimore was leaving my grandmothers behind. Both of these women had an inexplicable impact on my life: My grandma Flora helped raise my sister and I when we were young. In what I could call my more formative years, I forged a relationship with my grandma Marie, a friendship I’d never known I could have.
I don’t know if her passing is just pressing on my mind or what, but I’m noticing things, remembering things that make me think of her. In the supermarket on Monday, Meredith and I saw a family who were checking out using a government check. They were marking off the items that their fixed income check would provide, and I couldn’t help but think of the many times in her life that my grandmother struggled to feed her family. She was never what one could consider wealthy, but she stretched every bit of income the family generated. She told me stories of her youth, of washing the laundry of richer families and lugging it around her neighborhood and the city of Bernalillo. She told me the precious value that a penny could hold for a child in those times, and why a dime could mean so much to her family.
It’s easy in our modern society to lose sight of the truly important matters in our lives. You needn’t look further than the Story of Stuff or the nightly news to understand how that happens. But watching that family check out with their $15 worth of groceries really jolted me. I recalled my grandma Marie and her mantra of always having something to eat in the kitchen: often a pot of frijoles and a pile of tortillas (though, if you ever ate either, you wouldn’t say ‘only’). But it was there. She fed my father, sister and I after church every Sunday, and she also welcomed my high-school buddies for lunch every few weeks with open arms and a friendly smile. And, as if she didn’t have enough grandchildren already, many of my friends were often in her thoughts and prayers. My grandma last year rejoiced when Harmony was married and at the news that she was expecting a baby.
Grandma Marie was a pious woman, selfless and humble. If anybody could demonstrate how to live without regard to their material lives, it was her. She enjoyed the simplest of pleasures: a long phone call from a friend; her novellas (and certain American soaps as well); a Cowboys victory on Sunday afternoon. She was the one who taught me the value of shopping with coupons, of finding the bargains. Grandma Marie was also the woman who taught me that family comes first. Continue reading…