I woke up last night from a bad dream and it took me awhile to fall back asleep. I was thinking about the Gilbert temple and who I would invite to come to the open house. This is a time when anyone and everyone can walk through the temple. That thought left my mind after sometime and I started to think about my deceased grandparents. Funny how one thought naturally connects to another one. My first grandparent I always think about is Bubbie. Of course that's not her real name. It is Sara Levin. As a 10 year old with very few friends and no social life, Bubbie, was my best friend. I was particularly excited when I saw her because my step mom was on her best behavior (that's another story). I can remember sitting as close to her as I could without actually sitting on her lap. I stayed next to her practically the entire time she visited us. I especially liked her chunky jewelry, her smell, her red hair, her smile and I can hear her laugh now. She was safe, loving, and affectionate to me. I can see her brightly polished, long finger nails and can feel the soft touch of her skin as she stroked my arm. She died when I was 10 and I knew it minutes before I got the call from my dad. I was home alone while the rest of my family went on a donut run. I sang Families Can Be Together and started crying. I knew something wasn't right. A few minutes later my dad called to say she had past in her sleep, most likely from a heart attack or stroke. The love of a grandma is felt even at a young age and I'm glad she was part of my life and know I will see her again.
I also think of Grandpa Bonaudi, my mom's dad. We had a lot of fun together because we had things in common. I loved working on puzzles with him. Even though the house was full of peole, it was usually just him and I working a puzzle while there was a sporting event on TV playing in the background. My parents tell me I inherited his luck with cards. We loved playing card games at night and if we were on the same team there was no stopping us. I remember his raspy voice, at least I thought it was. When I was maybe 7 years old, I gave him a huge goose egg on his forehead. I remember feeling embarrassed and mad at myself about it. I was driving like a small motorcycle and he was sitting behind me. I crashed into a tree and his head hit the tree. I felt awful and I'm sure he had a headache for days but he never made me feel bad about it even though I was aching inside. I remember him taking us in his plane, he was a pilot, and he even let us control the plane for a little bit while sitting on his lap. Grandparents can be so forgiving and trusting! I would also cuddle up against him every once in awhile. He loved treats and lots of butter on his bread. One of my treasures I have is a short video clip of me helping him put his glasses on a few months before he past. Watching a feeble grandpa that couldn't put his glasses brings tears to my eyes. I know when I see him again he'll be strong like I once remember.
Last night I thought of my step-grandparents: Grandpa and Grandma Jenkins. I wasn't there real grand daughter but they loved and treated me as if I were. Both loved playing games too. Grandma Jenkins was a quiet competitor. The cousins and I usually laughed a lot and were obnoxious while we played Skip-bo at Lake Shasta. She usually put us in our place rather kindly considering how obnoxious we were. She was probably the most hard-working person I have known. Even cleaning her rain gutters in her 80's, that was until we found out and my dad took over. I believe living through the depression made her who she was. Hard working, do-it-yourself person, not wasting things, thrifty, financially smart, etc. When I think of her I think of her yummy ice tea she made, her fresh strawberries in her backyard, the glitter on her ceiling that I once believed were stars, her jumbo pretzels in the kitchen, and watching her watch soap operas. I looked forward to playing games at her house and listening to her old records and cassettes while eating m&m's and drinking a cold soda. She died shortly after I had Jordyn and I remember seeing her health diminish ever so gradually. I said goodbye to her when she was in a nursing home. Grandpa Jenkins died before her. I was a junior in college and came home for Thanksgiving. I said my goodbye to him in his home as he laid in bed. I remember hardly recognizing him as he had lost so much weight. He wasn't eating anything. He looked very uncomfortable and I knew inside he only had hours left. He couldn't talk and so I did the talking. After talking and saying goodbye he squeezed my hand. I felt that was his way of thanking me, saying I love you, and saying goodbye. He died that night. I felt so sad for Grandma on Thanksgiving day. It was a somber holiday that year. I believe these two are doing more work in heaven than I can fathom. They had a lot of energy and always kept busy on earth that I think it's no different where they are now.
Now, my mom's mom, we called Gammie. Her real name is Betty Jane and I love that old-fashioned name. I believe she died when I was 5 and I only remember visiting her a few times in Washington. I would also cuddle up by her side while I sucked my thumb. She definitely seemed old and weak while I knew her. I distinctly remember her teaching me how to tickle the roof of my mouth with my tongue. She would play a game with us where she would hide a hershey kiss and we would have to find it. I know she helped my mom a lot and lived with us when I was a baby. I'm sure she held and comforted me many times and now I see my mom do that for my kids and I hope to do that for my grandkids. I'm eternally grateful for my grandparents. The examples of love, hard work, and the good people they were. I know I will see them again and I know dying, although sad to think about leaving behind the ones you love, will also be joyous for the ones you'll reunite with.
5 years ago