Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Maw Maw, The Great

This afternoon I ran out of grandparents. Which is not an unusual development when one is almost 38 years old. But, still...

My dad's dad died when I was not yet three years old. And on the exact day that The Boss Lady was born... I have no recollection of him. He was a WWII vet, so he will always be a hero in my book.

My Paw Paw, a farmer, died 15 years ago or so. I still have lots of great memories of him. I also have his old truck. I think of Paw Paw C every time I hop in OUR 68 Chevy. Or when I play in my garden.

My mom's mother died three years ago. I think of her when I count or when I play dominoes or when I read or watch someone use sign language. She was a great teacher.

My dad's mother was in hospice care for past week or so. So it was not a surprise when THAT call came this afternoon. Alzheimer's stole the last decade of her life. But nothing will steal the great memories I got to share with her.

One of the awesome-erest ever things (and there were many...) about Maw Maw was her love and knowledge of this city. Oh, she would hardly recognize the place now. We have had too much growth and development in the past dozen years. But she lived almost her entire life within a few miles in Austin. And she loved this city. And that made me love this city.

I didn't grow up here, but like the bumper sticker says "I got here as fast as I could." I was in Jr High or High School when I told a teacher that I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but that I WOULD live in Austin. So it was no surprise when I was 20 and I moved in with my grandma. I brought my couch, my clothes and Siamese cat and Maw Maw provided just about everything else.

The best times of that year were our weekend driving trips through the city, just to see "stuff". I would drive and she would tell me things she knew about each part of town and about people who once lived in each neighborhood. We also toured a lot of cemeteries, so grandma could clue me in to the final resting places of our family.

While cruising the city with Maw Maw I learned every backstreet and shortcut in town. She had this place wired and we weren't about to sit in traffic on the freeway, when a little known side street could get us there quicker. Often the side street might take you out of our way, but right past an interesting site. And that was always good, too.

Maw Maw was spunky. She was happy. And she was fun to be around. I would love to thank her for teaching me everything I love about my town and I'll miss her.

Soon I'll sit and grieve. But tonight I think I'll go take a drive.



Sorry for your loss, ADH. It's never easy losing a grandparent, especially when you've had the opportunity to know them & live with them. I love spunky Grandmas. May yours Rest in Peace.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I think that was by far the best way to put it. I never knew her like you did, and in fact I'm a little jealous... altough I'm thankful for every moment we spent together. She gave me one of the most memorable parts of my childhood, my bunny stuffed animal. I loved your post. Thanks for sharing :)

Darren said...

My sympathies. I'm glad you've got in perspective and are remembering all the good times.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about your Grandma's passing, Mike.

Will said...

My condolences on the loss of your Grandma, Mike.

Angel said...

I'm sorry to read of your loss.

May she forever stay alive in the wonderful memories you have of her and may that go a long way toward easing the pain of her being gone.

The Father of Five said...

Mike, I am sorry to hear about your loss.

Grandparents are often play a significant role in shaping who we are. It was not that long ago (September 2005 - gosh, has it been that long??) that I lost my last grandparent too.

My first grandparent to pass away was my Grandpa. That happened when I was five. Then, not until I was twelve when my Pépère (grandfather) died. I was extremely close to my "Pep", and his passing was very unexpected, and very emotional. It is still a "scar" to this day. I miss my Pep so very much.. even to this day. I'd do just about anything just to have an afternoon with him again.... Hell, I am tearing up just typing this... That was back in 1981. Two years later (on the 2 year reunion of Pep's funeral) my Mémère (grandma) died. She had terminal cancer, and moved in with us. I too was very-very fond of my Mémère - and the years between her and Pep's death - we had spent a lot of time together. Then, between 1983 and 2005 I had my one grandma left. We grew pretty close over the years, and I had spent a lot of time helping her around her house, taking her shopping, etc... but as grandparents do - she grew older, and was unable to care for herself - and ended up in a nursing home. She was close to my work, and for the first year or so - I was able to visit her on my lunch breaks. Due to some changes at work (that I still resent) that came to an end - but I did stop by and see her on the way to - or way home from work - but not as often as I did on my lunch breaks.

In 2005 at the age of 36 - I lost my last grandparent. It was sad, but much like with your Maw-Maw, when the phone call came that it would only be a day - maybe two - I was not surprised. I was able to spend some time with her before she passed - and when the time came, I did not find myself so terribly upset. Perhaps a bit of maturity, some understanding, and a belief that she is in a much better place helped me cope with the loss.

If you are interested, I went into a lot more of my relationships with my grandparents, and what I felt was a pretty significant connections with them a while back on FOF. The post is called "Connections" - In Both Life and Death".

Mike, from one father to another. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your Maw-Maw, and your family.

AMR said...

Sorry for your loss, Mike. Sounds like she was a wonderful person.

Unknown said...

Thank you all, guys. My parents came in to town today, and they will be busy for a couple of days getting everything ready for the funeral on Monday.

It'll be nice to have to folks around for a while.

Leighton @ My Best Investments said...

Sorry about your grandmother, Mike. It'll be nice to have your family there to share stories and memories about her life.

Anonymous said...

My condolences on your loss. I suspect that I will be losing my last grandparent in the not too distant future as well, as she hasn't been doing so well since my grandfather passed away. I'm not sure how I will handle it. But I am grateful that two of my grandparents lived long enough for my children to get to know and love them. It's a rare treat for children to have great-grandparents around. I didn't know mine at all.

Best wishes for your family, with cherished memories to get you through these hard times.