Goodbye Grandma


At the age of 95, my Grandma, Alda Strebel, died last night. As long as I can remember she has been eager to die. Not in a grim way, but in a spiritual, happy way. She lost her husband when I was maybe 3 and never remarried. She always talked about wanting to be with him again. She had a strong faith that life continues on after death, that they would be together and it would be a joyous occasion. Her quality of life had been very poor the last couple of years. She could no longer care for herself and was in a care facility. She could not hear. She was not always coherent and slept most of the day. Over Christmas I went to visit her and just bawled. She asked why I was crying and I told her it was hard for me to see her like that.

I picture her now like the picture below when she was young. She had a lame leg since she was young and I imagine her dancing around now, amazed that she has full use of her body. I've always thought ahead to her death as a happy time. But I find myself tearing up now, with a red nose, because I wish I could have done more to love and care for her. I wish I knew her better so I could help my children know her. I wish I was by her side when she died. When Willie's grandpa died last month, I decided to print out my blog every week and send it to her but didn't and now it's too late. I'm assuming she can read my blog from the other side (an Internet cafe in paradise seems like a must). I hope she knows I love her.

I did not get to spend as much time with Grandma Strebel as my other grandparents but I still have many memories of her. She used to let us put the fizzy denture cleaner in a glass with her dentures at night. I can see Wyatt really liking something like that. She's give us back rubs with lotion and while she was giving a sibling a back rub another sibling would play tick tac toe in the lotion with her. I remember visiting her when I was in college and bringing boyfriends by for her approval. She could really jam on the piano. She'd play these old fashion peppy songs and sing along sometimes. I'm sure I danced around to it. She had a great sense of humor. Like after I had Wyatt, she said I finally looked like a woman with all my curves (not so subtle code for chub).

A great memory I have is of a "hike" I took her on in Eldorado canyon outside of boulder. It was Travis's wedding and i saw that they had a wheelchair accessible trail. So I brought her up there so she could experience something that really made me happy. She mentioned it for years after as something she loved. It was really bonding for us.



Now that I don't have any of my own grandparents on earth, I can't help but think about my children's grandparents. I really want them to spend time with them and know and love them. Grandparents can be so magical. I think it takes effort on both sides and sometime sacrifice of time and money but it's so worth it. My grandparents have shaped my life. They were a strong source of spiritual strength for me.
Goodbye Grandma Strebel, you finally get to be with Grandpa Strebel and be free of your physical ailments and your loneliness. Thanks for being a mother to my mom and a grandmother to me. I love you.






14 Comments:

  1. Hilma Bellessa said...
    Such a heart felt beautiful tribute to my mother. She sure did love you. I want to be a great influence and loving presence in your children's lives. I love them so much..as I do you for your goodness and caring.
    Lori J said...
    Sally, this is a wonderful tribute to your Grandma. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts about your G-ma with us. It is nice in time like these to know that this is not the end and there is a place for her now. :0)
    sara said...
    that was beautiful sal.
    Anonymous said...
    I'm sure your grandmother feels great about your tribute to her. I'm sitting in a cafe', wiping away my tears on a napkin.

    While your grandmother is now healthy and pleased to reunited with her loved ones on the other side, I still grieve for you. And I grieve over the geography between Kathy and me and your family.

    We love you deeply.

    David DeFord
    Amy said...
    This was great Sally. I forgot about the pink denture pills fizzing at night, but now I can remember the sound and the smell. Grandma would have loved this entry. I'm sure she can read it from heaven.
    Brittney said...
    Sally, my name is Brittney Bellessa, I am married to David Bellessa's nephew Aaron. Your mom showed me your blog a few months ago and she always talk about how much she loves her family. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful caring family, your mom is one of my favorite people and I wish she could be a grandmother to me and my someday-kids. Thank you for sharing the wonderful tribute about your grandma, family is my favorite thing about life and I am so glad you cherise it as well.

    love,

    brittney
    Travis said...
    I think I totally inherited Grandmas love of back massages and 'tic-a-tic-a-ing.' My kids have inherited it, too. I'll miss her but I'm glad she's moved on to the next stage in life.
    Sarah said...
    I am so sorry for your loss, Sally! You grandma was lucky to have you in her family and so am I! Hugs!
    Jen said...
    Hey Sally, sorry to hear about your grandma. I lost mine this year just before we moved from Junction back up to Washington. It's rough. It really helps to know that this isn't all for us, but it's still ok to cry about it.
    starr said...
    sally, that was a lovely tribute. i am sitting in my office at the end of a long day, tears streaming away. you really captured the essence of family in your entry. thanks.
    Kate said...
    Sally, along with everyone else I'm sitting hear crying and your tribute sent my mind into remembering great memories of my own grandma.
    I'm here is you need anything.

    Kate
    Wendy said...
    What a neat tribute. You have a way with words. Isn't it wonderful to know you'll get to see her again. Good luck in the coming days, we'll keep you in our prayers.
    Jewel Stratford said...
    What a nice tribute to your Grandma. I can tell that you had a special relationship. All of my grandparents had already passed on before I was born, and I, too, think the grandparent/grandchild relationship is very important and can be "magical". Thank you for letting me be a part of your children's lives. They are precious and I love them so.
    Emilie & Branden said...
    Sally, you're cute and I miss you! I remember your grandma...both grandma's actually. They were so classy and pretty. I want to see you soon!!!

    -Em

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