Careful enough

Meet my grandma.

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She was my mom’s mom and my favorite person in the whole wide world. For the first 15 years of my life, she and my aunt lived in a two family house in Brooklyn. Sundays and holidays were spent at her house. Or she and Auntie would drive to ours in “Lawng Island”.

She was your typical Sicilian grandma, always telling you to eat and pinching your cheeks. And when she got mad, look out!! Wooden spoons were a fearsome weapon in our house.

She died on a sunny summer day in July 2006. We knew it was coming. She’d been diagnosed with dementia and her little body just shut down. My mom was staying with her and Auntie for a week or so before. And my other aunt, Little One, came in from Rhode Island as well. I was working in the pet store my husband and I owned. I was 27. My son was almost 4. I remember parts of the conversation with my mom that morning:

“Well? Anything?” I asked, kind of hopeful that some miracle would happen and Grandma would be well again.
“Not yet, ” my mom replied sounding sad and tired.
“Will you call me? Please? If she goes?”
“We’ll come get you, how’s that?”
“No, Ma. Just call.”
“Ok.”

No sooner had I hung up the phone, than my dad walked in. I can’t really remember, but I think he must have taken the train home from Manhattan, and instead of going straight home, he must have gotten off at the stop by my store.

He put his arm around me and whispered gently in my ear, “She’s gone.”

I remember being angry. Why hadn’t my mom just told me when I was on the phone with her? I had just hung up with her, why didn’t she tell me??

The rest of the day is a blur. I’m not sure how I got home. Or when we’d gone out to New Jersey for the wake and funeral.

A few weeks later, Auntie presented me with a tiny, red, quilted pouch. In it was a thin gold bracelet. I remember Grandma used to wear it on the same wrist as her watch. “Grandma wanted you to have this,” she’d said.

I loved that bracelet. I wore it all the time. And I was so careful with it. Always checking to see where it was. Always making sure that when I took it off, it was in a safe place.

And then I lost it. I woke up one morning and it was gone. It must have snapped and fallen off and I didn’t notice. I retraced my steps. I went back to the warehouse store. I checked the backyard where I’d help put together a pool for my son. I checked my car, my room, everywhere. It was gone.

Grandma’s gone eight years now. I keep this picture in my bedroom and I say good morning to her everyday.

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I am thankful for the time I got to spend with her. But I’m sad Big Boy didn’t get to spend more time with her and Little Miss never got to meet her. I’ve never found the bracelet either. Sorry Grandma, I guess I wasn’t careful enough.

This is an original ROSCMM post. All opinions come for Jennifer herself, unless otherwise noted. This post was inspired by the novel The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan, about two estranged sisters who are forced to work together in order to uncover the hidden inheritance by their mother. Join From Left to Write on December 2nd as we discuss The Mill River Redemption and enter to win a copy of the novel. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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Categories: Family, From Left to Write Book Club | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Careful enough

  1. Pingback: Book Club Discussion: The Mill River Redemption - From Left to Write

  2. thienkimlam

    Your grandmother sounds amazing. I”m glad that you were able to spend as much time with her as you possibly could.

  3. Your post is so heartfelt and poignant! I lost my last living grandparent — my maternal grandmother, whom we called “Nanny” — just before I got pregnant with my son. I’ve so often wished that she, and my other grandparents, could have lived long enough to meet him.

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