Friday, August 13, 2010

In Memory of My Grandma Tina

You long-time readers out there probably know that today is one of the few days of the year that I ask you to indulge me; and instead of talking about the yummy foods and snacky deliciousness that I normally do, I instead wish to take a minute to remember my grandmother who passed away nine years ago today.

I know most people think that their grandmothers are candidates for sainthood. But I am pretty sure that if anyone has actually attained it, it's her.

In years past, I have tried to keep this post light and brief. Part of it is denial on my part. I won't lie to you guys -- August 14th is the single most dreaded day of the year for me. I have tried for nine long years now to wish this day into the cornfield, and as of yet am not having a whole lot of luck with it.

No matter how many times I have gone through matter how many times I have told myself it is just one day out of the year -- and it's not like it exactly sneaks up on me -- it's like an annual sucker punch to the gut. My grandmother's passing was not the first death I had to deal with, nor was it the last. It is, however, the one that still shakes me.

Maybe it's because I always thought that there would be more time. Her mother (my great-grandmother) lived to one hundred, and maybe that had all of us spoiled with the hope that we would get the same kind of time with my grandmother as well. But I know that even if we had been so lucky, her not being here would hurt just as much.

Somehow, despite our fondest hopes, there is never as much time as we want there to be.

I try to remember all the wonderful things she shared. If not for her influence on my early eating habits, Gigi Reviews might never have existed. She was never afraid to try new things (well, as long as they did not contain any form of poultry), and she encouraged me always to try something at least once. She loved red wines and dark chocolates -- by themselves, and yes, sometimes even together. She adored lobster in any way possible, and she began each day with a cup of the universe's worst, most vile black instant coffee.

I am not the most religious person ever. Truthfully, I am one of those people who want scientific proof for as much as possible. And with that in mind, I can't honestly begin to guess where she might be right now. I like to think that where ever she is, she's young and healthy and strong. That she gets to spend her days reading the cheesy romance novels she loved -- that is, when she's not busy doing an extra-hard jigsaw puzzle. Or maybe that she gets to spend her time decorating for perpetual Christmas. She loved to decorate -- she was one of those people who would start putting things up the second the turkey was out of the oven on Thanksgiving. I hope her nights are spent dancing to big band music and that she has a big pot of red clam sauce on the stove at all times. I like to think she and my great-grandmother are continuing to drive each other crazy like they did for the 75 years they shared on Earth. I hope she somehow gets to see all the things she's not here for, and that she knows how much she has been missed for all of the nine years, or 3,287 days (if you wanna get picky) that she has been gone. All of those wishful things may only exist in a little pocket I have created for her in a corner of my cold black heart (which I got from my great-grandmother -- who, as much as I loved her too, was definitely not a candidate for sainthood), and if that's the case, I suppose that's still not so bad. At the very least, it means a part of her lives on in the way those of us who remember her choose how to do it.

Every year, regardless of anything else that is going on, I stop and have a glass of wine for her (and lobster if I can swing it). So, if you have a moment and some wine, or some lobster, or some chocolate, or whatever suits you -- please say a Salute! in memory of Tina.

And because I have not quite hit my sappy quota for the year just yet, I leave you with a fitting song by the great Barry Manilow.

I love you, Grandma Tina.


Anonymous said...

I hope this sad day always brings you happy memories of her. Your blog is very touching :). I really will never be able to empathize with the way you feel, though I can do my best to imagine, but that's probably far from the truth. I think it's wonderful that you dedicate a blog post to your grandmother the way you do. She sounds like she would have been a great person to meet and judging by her tastes, she know a good thing about food and wine. I really don't think much about religious matters, but who really needs to when you just think that her memories will always exist through you, and that's truly an extension of life. I will make sure to dedicate the glass of wine I'll be having today to her! And I'll have my first piece of chocolate in a while (oddly enough I had chocolate in my dreams last night) and think of your post.
To the bitter-sweet memories of your grandmother! Cheers.

collection said...

I just wanted to say "Thank You" to my daughter Gigi, for writing such a beautiful Memoir for my Mother, her grandmother, Tina. In my world, she is a saint. I could never follow in her footsteps, nor be the mother to you as she was to me, but her love and spirit is in all of us. She has seen us through some dark times these past 9 years, I am sure of it.. The Gladiolas are on the table, 9 ballons soon will be floating to heaven to find her, I will send you a video, but know, she is in your heart,always and she loved us all very much. Thank you for the song, although it touched my heart, I am on the third box of Kleenex!! But that's ok.. She meant the world to me.. Thank you my dear daughter

Jim said...

Great post Gi. I'm sure your Grandma would be so proud of you for bringing entertainment to so many people with your reviews.

Annette said...

I love you Gigi!

Gigi said...

Thank you all.
It really means a lot to me that I am lucky enough to get to share my thoughts and memories about her.
I am sorry I took longer then normal to respond. Truthfully every time I so much as glance at this post I start to cry.

My Grandmother was one of those rare people who you couldn't help but like. I don't think the woman ever had a bad word to say about anyone (even the people she SHOULD have had bad things to say about). I will never be half the person that she was (I on the other hand say lots of bad things lol) but I like to think that maybe I am a teensy bit better for having known her.

I sometimes wonder what she would think of my little endeavor here. Sometimes as I type things I swear I can hear her in my ear chastising me for saying certain things! But I like to think she certainly would not have minded sharing in the goodies that come my way.

Again thank you all for allowing me the chance to get to share her with you.