I remember hearing my phone notify me of a text in the middle of the night, but I was so tired that I didn't check the text and just fell right back asleep. I awoke to the sound of my alarm ringing yesterday morning at 6:00 and looked over and read the text then. It was from my mom and it said call me immediately.
I knew exactly what it was about.
But I didn't want to hear it yet so I hopped in the shower and got dressed and went about my normal morning routine. I went upstairs and woke the kids up and fed them breakfast. After my kids were dressed and fed, and lunches were placed in backpacks and teeth were brushed, I called my mom. It was 7:20am.
She told me what I already knew she was going to say. That my grandmother had passed away. Her health had been declining this past year and after she lost partial vision in her eyes a few years back, she was never the same. My grandmother loved to read and to paint, so without her vision she was lost.
My grandma played an integral role in my upbringing. She lived with us for a long time while I was a child. She was always there. So many of my good childhood memories involve her. And even when I grew up and got married and moved away to Virginia, I still maintained a close relationship with her. I called her often because I loved to hear her stories, and she always had good advice. I called her for medical questions, I called her for cooking questions, I called her for crafting questions. I called her because she was my grandma and I needed her in my life, even if she lived across the country.
Immediately after the news, I began kicking myself for not calling her more often, for not stopping by to visit her this past October when we were out on the west coast. I started thinking of all the things I wanted her to know, of all the things she still wanted to do in this life.
At this point, I just want to talk to her one more time. I just want to hear her voice and hear her laugh and tell her how much I love her and hug her, and tell her that she was the most wonderful grandmother, and I want to thank her for all she did for me.
There is just a flood of emotions right now. I'm glad that she is in Heaven with her Lord now. I'm happy she is no longer in pain, but I'm sad because my kids didn't get to know her the way I did. I'm sad because my three year old probably won't even remember her. But as I sit here crying, remembering my grandma, I know that she is in a better place, and she has her vision back and she can read and paint and dance and sing without pain so I know in my head that this is a good thing. But my heart still hurts. My grandmother wouldn't want me to be sad though. She wouldn't want me to be in despair.
So let me tell you about my grandma. Let me tell you about the loss of a good one. Patsy Jean Smith was born in Missouri on February 10, 1934. She moved to Michigan shortly thereafter with her family. She loved figure skating and hockey and would often times skate on frozen ponds, and she loved to tell me stories of her skating adventures. She had beautiful emerald green eyes and gorgeous auburn hair. She hated her name and went by Patti for most of her life. She was tall and muscular. She loved to dance and she loved to sing. She was Irish through and through and had been known to burst out in an Irish jig if provoked. Or even if not provoked.
She went to nursing school in Arizona at the insistence of her mother even though she really, really didn't want to. And she eventually earned her nursing degree. It's a good thing too because if she hadn't been a nurse she never would have met my grandfather. She met Eloy Ysasi in a hospital in the early 1950's in Phoenix, Arizona. He was a police officer at the time and had come in to speak with the medical examiner and well as they say, the rest was history. They were married shortly thereafter and my grandma became Patti Ysasi, the name she carried until the day she died.
They bought a little house in Arizona, my grandmother worked part time as a nurse and they had three children: Tom, Bryon, and Barb (my mom). Sadly, my grandfather and grandmother didn't stay married forever. They divorced when my mother was sixteen. My grandmother never remarried and she loved my grandfather unconditionally for the rest of his life.
My grandmother loved to paint. She loved flowers, roses in particular, she loved to garden, and she LOVED to cook. Holidays were a blast with her around. Our kitchen would be filled with cookies and candies galore. She was hopelessly messy but quite possibly the most talented artist who ever lived. She painted anything and everything. My grandmother taught me everything I know about painting and drawing. She was also an excellent seamstress, and with the help of my mother, they sewed all of my skating costumes.
My grandmother was also an amazing story teller. I remember as a child I would have sleepover's with her and I would snuggle up in her bed and listen to her tell me stories until I fell asleep. We would watch the Thorn Bird series together and the musical Brigadoon. And when we went to visit her in July of 2011, I brought the DVD with me and we all sat (my children included) and watched the musical together. It's a memory I'll cherish forever.
My grandmother loved to talk politics. She LOVED to read. She loved her coffee black. She refused to eat chicken. She couldn't eat corn. She was kind and sweet. And funny. So funny. And the most lovable person I've ever met.
There were so many wonderful qualities to her. I'm leaving so much out about her, and it seems strange to try and summarize someone in a silly blog post. But I wanted you to know who she was.
So grandma, I know you are looking down on us from Heaven now. I know you are in perfect peace, but I miss you. I miss you so much. Thank you for a lifetime full of wonderful memories. There is comfort in the fact that I will see you again one day in Heaven. But there is sadness in the fact that I'll never to get to hug you again while I'm here on Earth. I'll tell my kids about you. I'll tell them of the amazing woman you were. I'll tell them how much you loved them. You left an amazing legacy behind and I thank you for that. You will always be cherished and remembered.
I love you grandma. Goodbye. For now.